Skip to main content

Full text of "History of India"

See other formats






The State Elephant of the Gaikwar of Baroda 

The (iaikwar of Baroda, one of the few independent native princes 
of India, rules over a district of nearly five thousand square miles in 
the Bombay Presidency and traces the origin of his power to the early 
part of tiie eighteenth century. Like all Hindu rulers and high officials 
in India, this potentate has a special state elephant, which is adorned 
with magnificent trappings and surmounted by a howdah, in which ride 
the prince and those whom he chiefly honours. 


Edited by 


Professor of Indo-lranian Languages in Columbia University 


From the Earliest Times to the Sixth Century, B. C. 



Of the Indian Civil Service ; and of the Middle Temple, Barrister-at-law, Member of 

the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the Asiatic 

Society of Bengal, Finance Minister to His Highness, the 

Maharaja of Baroda. India 






Limited to One Thousand Copies 
for England and America 


Copyright, igod, by 



Not the least historic of the ancient nations of the 
East is India, even when compared with Egypt and 
its monuments, China and its annals, or Assyria and 
Babylonia with their cuneiform tablets and their cylin- 
ders. India's earliest records, written in its literature, 
have been inscribed in the hearts of the people for more 
than three thousand years; and from that remote age 
its history is recorded in an almost unbroken line to 
this very century, so that he who will may follow its 
development through the early centuries that preceded 
the Christian era, onward through the mediaeval period 
of Mohammedan rule, down to the days when the Euro- 
peans entered India and the country came under British 

The aim of this series of volumes is to present a 
continuous narrative of the history of India from the 
dim ages of the past down to the present time, com- 
bining into an organic whole a succession of standard 
works by recognized authorities, each a master of the 
special period with which he deals, thus providing a 


complete picture of the development of the country 
whose teeming millions are now under the sceptre of 
Great Britain. In carrying out this design, the pub- 
lishers and the editor have had the generous assistance 
of the scholars whose work is represented by these 
volumes. Special care has been taken to make such 
changes as were needed to meet the requirements of 
the series in a sympathetic manner and in such a 
way as to preserve all the essentials, thus giving the 
reader the results of the ripest scholarship in each 

Ancient India and its civilization is discussed by 
the Honourable Romesh Chunder Dutt, of Baroda State, 
in a manner that will awaken interest in the life and 
history of our earliest kinsmen of Aryan blood. The 
second volume, written by Mr. Vincent Smith, recounts 
the history of the land of the Ganges from the time 
of Buddha to the first centuries after the Mohammedan 
conquest of Hindustan, when the history of Mediaeval 
India begins. A comprehensive picture of the fortunes 
of the country under the rule of Islam is given in the 
volumes by Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole, and this is sup- 
plemented by a collection of the most characteristic 
descriptions of the period by Mohammedan writers 
themselves, as translated from their Arabic and Persian 
originals by Sir Henry M. Elliot, thus covering the 
history of India down to the time when the land was 
brought into direct contact with Europe. The settle- 
ments by the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English, 
and the struggle for supremacy which resulted in Eng- 


land's triumph, are thoroughly treated in the volumes 
originally prepared by Sir William Hunter, and Sir 
Alfred Lyall relates the modern history of British do- 
minion in India. A volume designed to give an objec- 
tive view of the land and its people, as seen through 
the eyes of foreigners, presents a collection of the most 
striking descriptions of India by foreign travellers from 
ancient times to the eighteenth century, selected by the 
editor from Greek, Chinese, Persian, and Arabic sources, 
and from the accounts of the earliest European trav- 
ellers and discoverers from the Western World. 

Throughout the entire series the endeavour has been 
to eliminate the more technical matters and to omit 
detailed discussions of mooted points, while foot-notes 
have been almost universally avoided and diacritical 
marks omitted in the spelling of proper names. The 
illustrations of the various volumes have been chosen 
with great care, and many of them have been taken 
from photographs in my own collection, made during 
my travels in India. I am happy to have the oppor- 
tunity to acknowledge my obligations to those scholars 
who have so kindly aided me by giving permission to 
make use of their works and to thank those who have 
allowed me to reproduce pictures which were their 
special property. 

My thanks in particular are due to my friend and 
former pupil, Dr. Louis H. Gray, sometime Fellow in 
Indo-Iranian at Columbia University, for aid in the 
preparation of the text and for the indexing of the 
volumes. Mr. George C. 0. Haas, formerly Scholar, 


now Fellow, in Indo-Iranian at Columbia, has also lent 
generous assistance in reading the proof-sheets and in 
various matters of detail. 



The method by which this work has been written 
is very simple. My principal object has been to fur- 
nish the general reader with a practical and handy 
work on the Ancient History of India not to compose 
an elaborate work of discussions on Indian antiquities. 
To study clearness and conciseness on a subject like 
this was not, however, an easy task. Every chapter 
deals with matters about which long researches have 
been made and various opinions recorded. It would 
have afforded some satisfaction to me to have given 
the reader the history of every controversy, the account 
of every antiquarian discovery, and the pros and cons 
of every opinion advanced. But I could not yield to 
this temptation without increasing the work greatly 
in bulk and thus sacrificing the very object with which 
it is written. To carry out my purpose, I have avoided 
every needless controversy and discussion, and I have 
tried to explain as clearly, concisely, and distinctly as 
I was able, each succeeding phase of Hindu civilization 
and Hindu life in ancient times. 

But, while conciseness has been the main object, I 



have also endeavoured to tell my story so that it may 
leave some distinct memories in the minds of my read- 
ers after they have closed the work. For this reason 
I have avoided details as far as possible and have tried 
to develop, fully and clearly, the leading facts and fea- 
tures of each succeeding age. Repetition has not been 
avoided, where such repetition seemed necessary to im- 
press the cardinal facts the salient features of the 
story of Hindu civilization. 

The copious extracts which I have given (in trans- 
lation) from the Sanskrit works may, at first sight, 
seem to be inconsistent with my desire for conciseness. 
Such extracts, however, have been advisedly given. In 
the first place, on a subject where there is so much 
room for difference of opinion, it is of the highest 
importance to furnish the reader with the text on, which 
my conclusions are based, to enable him to form his 
own judgment, and to rectify my mistakes if my con- 
clusions are erroneous. In the second place, it is a 
gain to the cause of historical knowledge to familiarize 
the reader with the texts of these ancient authors. It 
is scarcely to be hoped that the busy student will spend 
much of his time in reading the ancient and abstruse 
works in the original, or even in learned translations, 
and the historian who seeks to familiarize his readers 
with some portions at least of these ancient works, 
adds in so far to the accurate knowledge of his readers 
on this subject. And lastly, it has been well said, that 
thought is language, and language is thought; and if 
it be the intention of the historian to convey an idea 


of ancient thought of what the ancient Hindus felt 
and believed he cannot do this better than by quot- 
ing the words in which that ancient people expressed 
themselves. Such brief extracts very often give the 
modern reader a far more realistic and intimate knowl- 
edge of ancient Hindu society and manners and ways 
of thinking than any account that I could give at twice 
the length. And it is because I have desired the mod- 
ern reader to enter into the spirit and the inner life 
of the ancient Hindus, that I have tried to bring the 
old composers of hymns and sutras face to face with 
the reader, and allowed them to speak for themselves. 
Such an intimate grasp of the inner life and feelings 
of the ancients is the very kernel of true historical 
knowledge, and I have felt it a hopeless task to impart 
this knowledge more accurately or more concisely than 
in the words of the ancients. It is for this reason 
mainly, and consistently with my anxiety to be concise, 
that I have quoted extensively from ancient works. 

R. C. DUTT. 



































































The State Elephant of the Gaikwar of Baroda .... Frontispiece 

Primitive Manner of Grinding Corn . 8 

Khaiber Pass, a Gateway from Afghanistan into India .... 9 

Bridge of Boats on the Indus . .10 

Original Text of a Vedic Hymn . 12 

Ploughing in Ancient India 14 

Primitive Indian Well 16 

Old Indian Jewelry 19 

Sacrifice of a Goat t| . 22 

The Horse-sacrifice (Asvamedha) 23 

The Soma-plant 24 

Fort Jamrud Peshawar 27 

Indian Elephant of State 28 

Colonnade of Hindu Pillars 29 

An Indian Scene 35 

Women Drawing Water 36 

Ancient Indian Head-dress 40 

Scene on an Indian River 45 

Primitive Indian Boats 46 

Women of Salsette 47 

Hindu Women 53 

Nautch Girl 55 

A Nautch Girl of Delhi 57 

Burning Ghats 59 

A Scene in the Himalayas 66 

Indra 68 

Surya . 70 

A Late Conception of Vishnu .71 

Agni 72 

Reciting the Sacred Texts at Benares . . . . . .77 



Kali as worshipped to-day 77 

A View of the Ganges 83 

Type of the Sudra Caste 84 

Sacrificial Implements used in the Funeral Rites 87 

Utensils for Religious Ceremonies .88 

A Lake Scene in India 92 

Overlooking Indrapat, the Ancient Pandu Capital 94 

The Opening Page of the Bombay edition of the Mahabharata, reduced . 97 

The five Pandus and Draupadi 101 

Winning the hand of the Princess 104 

The Ill-fated Gambling-match 106 

The reputed birthplace of Krishna at Mathura 107 

Old Fort at Indrapat, near Delhi, the Ancient Indraprastha . . . 107 

Draupadi dragged into the Assembly 108 

The Pandus and Kurus in Battle ........ 109 

After the Battle of Eighteen Days 110 

The Closing Page of the Bombay edition of the Mahabharata, reduced . Ill 

A Place Hallowed by Rama 113 

Scene in Ceylon 115 

Temple dedicated to Rama at Pushkar near Ajmere 118 

Sacred Tank of Rama at Nasik 119 

Ravana 121 

Abduction of Sita ' . .122 

Hanuman 123 

Hanuman and the Vanars rejoicing at the restoration of Sita . . .124 

Rama with Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman ...... 125 

Hindus of Western Deccan 129 

A Rajput Descendant of the Kshatriya Caste ...*.. 131 

The Monkey Temple at Benares . . 135 

Shop of a Merchant of the Vaisya Caste 137 

Brahman Types 140 

A Hindu Youth 145 

Hindu Women Bathing in a Pool 147 

A Country Bullock-cart . 148 

A Type of Brahman Woman 153 

The Astronomical Observatory, Yantra Samantra, at Delhi . . . 156 

Rail in the Gautamiputra Cave, Nasik 159 

Ceremonial bathing in the Ganges 161 

Sacred Tank of the Temple at Madura 161 

Cremation on the Banks of the Ganges at Benares 164 

The Fish Avatar of Vishnu 167 

The Golden Temple at Benares 169 

Siva Slaying Kamadeva, or Cupid 170 



Vishnu . 171 

An Indian Scene 177 

Gold Wire-drawers 180 

Brahma 183 

Sculpture from the Buddhist Tope near Benares 185 

Law Code of Manu A page of the text . 187 

Travelling in the Nilgiri Hills 199 

Peak to North of Khinchinjunga, 21,500 feet, Sikkim .... 201 

Capital of Half Column from a temple in Orissa . . . . . 203 

An Indian Scene 209 

Bhil Women of Kathiawar 212 

Fresco in the Sheesh Mahal, at Rajgarh 217 

Ganesa 219 

Water Scene in India .......... 224 

Woman carrying water .......... 231 

Sylvan Scene 235 

Hindu Widows at the Mission in Bombay 239 

The Vedi, or Marriage Altar . 240 

Ascetic at Benares . . 242 

Propitiation of the Serpents . . 249 

Swastika 253 

A chapel in the Elephanta caves ........ 255 

Ascetic at Nasik 255 

A Hindu Devotee 258 

Undergoing Yogi Penance 260 

Indian Scenery 265 

Indian Carving 268 

Carved Temple at Ramesvara 273 

Western Gateway of the Buddhist Tope at Sanchi 277 

Brass image of Gautama Buddha from Ceylon 287 

Buddhist Rock-temple at Karli 294 

Ruins of the Sakiya Tope 302 

Footprints of Buddha 310 

Sculptures in the Cave-temple at Karli ....... 312 

Buddhist Tope at Sanchi 318 

Buddhist carving at Anuradhapura ........ 320 

Jain Temple of Vimala Sah, Mount Abu 325 

Jain Temple at Ahmadabad . . 327 



history of Ancient India is a history of thirty 
centuries of human culture and progress. It di- 
vides itself into several distinct periods, each of which, 
for length of years, will compare with the entire history 
of many a modern people. 

The earliest date claimed by modern scholars for 
its oldest literary monument, the Rig- Veda, is about 
2000 B. c. Even at that remote age, Hindu civilization 
must have been hundreds or thousands of years old, 
and from that time the literary works of successive 
periods form a continuous picture of the culture and 
the history of India for three thousand years, so full, 
so clear, that he who runs may read. The oldest records 
were not written on parchment or inscribed on stone; 
they were written in the faithful memory of the people, 
who handed down the precious heritage from century 
to century with a scrupulous exactitude that would be 
considered, in modern days, a miracle. 

Scholars who have studied the Yedic hymns historic- 


ally are aware that the materials they afford for con- 
structing a history of civilization are fuller and truer 
than any accounts which could have been recorded on 
stone or papyrus. And those who have pursued Hindu 
literature through the different periods of ancient 
Hindu history are equally aware that they form a 
complete and comprehensive story of the progress and 
gradual modifications of Hindu civilization, thought, 
and religion through three thousand years. The philo- 
sophical historian of human civilization need not be 
a Hindu to think that the Hindus have preserved 
the fullest, the clearest, and the truest materials for 
his work. 

We wish not to be misunderstood. We have made 
the foregoing remarks simply with a view to remove 
the very common and very erroneous impression that 
Ancient India has no history worth studying, no con- 
nected and reliable chronicle of the past which would 
be interesting or instructive to the modern reader. 

Ancient India has a connected story to tell, and so 
far from being uninteresting, its special feature is its 
intense attractiveness. We read in that ancient story 
how a gifted Aryan people, separated by circumstances 
from the outside world, worked out their civilization 
under natural and climatic conditions which were 
peculiarly favourable. We note their intellectual dis- 
coveries age after age; we watch their religious prog- 
ress and development through successive centuries; we 
mark their political career, as they gradually expand 
over India and found new kingdoms and dynasties; 


we observe their struggles against priestly domination, 
their successes and their failures; we study with in- 
terest their great social and religious revolutions and 
their far-reaching consequences. And this great story 
of a nation's intellectual life is nowhere broken and 
nowhere disconnected. The great causes which led to 
great social and religious changes are manifest to the 
reader, and he follows the gradual development of 
ancient Hindu civilization through thirty centuries, 
from 2000 B. c. to one thousand years after Christ. 

The story of India's success is not more instructive 
than the story of her failure. The hymns of Visva- 
mitra, the philosophy of Kapila, and the poetry of 
Kalidasa have no higher lessons for the modern reader 
than the decadence of her political life and the ascend- 
ency of priests. The story of the religious rising of 
the people under the leadership of Gautama Buddha 
and Asoka is not more instructive than the absence 
of any efforts after popular freedom. And the great 
heights to which the genius of Brahmans and Kshat- 
riyas soared are not more suggestive and not more 
instructive than the absence of genius in the people 
at large in their ordinary pursuits and trades in 
mechanical inventions and maritime discoveries, in 
sculpture, architecture, and arts, in manifestations of 
popular life and the assertion of popular power. 

The history of the intellectual and religious life 
of the ancient Hindus is matchless in its continuity, 
its fulness, and its philosophical truth. But the his- 
torian who paints only the current of that intellectual 


life performs but half his duty. There is another and a 
sadder portion of Hindu history, and it is necessary that 
this portion of the story, too, should be faithfully told. 

We have said before that the history of Ancient 
India divides itself into several distinct and long peri- 
ods or eras, marked by great historical events. We 
shall begin with the earliest period of India's history, 
that of Aryan settlements in the Pan jab. The hymns 
of the Rig- Veda furnish us with the materials for a 
history of this period, which we may call the Vedic, 
and which we may approximately date from 2000 to 
1400 B. c., or later according to some authorities. 

In this priceless volume, the Rig-Veda, we find 
the Hindu Aryans as conquerors and settlers on the ' 
banks of the Indus and its five branches; and India 
beyond the Sutlaj was almost unknown to them. They 
were a conquering race, full of the self-assertion and 
vigour of a young national life, with a strong love of 
action and a capacity for active enjoyments. They 
were, in this respect, far removed from the contempla- 
tive and passive Hindus of later days; they rejoiced 
in wealth and cattle and pasture-fields; and, with their 
strong right arm, they won by force new possessions and 
realms from the aborigines of the soil, wjio vainly strug- 
gled to maintain their own against the invincible con- 
querors. Thus the period was one of wars and con- 
flicts with the aborigines; and the Aryan victors 
triumphantly boast of their victories in their hymns, 
and implore their gods to bestow on them wealth and 
new possessions and to destroy the barbarians. 


It is needless to say that the entire body of Aryans 
was then a united community, and the only distinction 
of caste was between the Aryans and the aborigines. 
Even the distinction between professions was not very 
marked; and the sturdy lord of many acres, .who 
ploughed his fields and owned large herds in times of 
peace, went out to defend his village or to plunder the 
aborigines in times of war, and often composed spirited 
hymns to the martial gods in his hours of devotion. 
There were no temples and no idols; each patriarch of 
a family lighted the sacrificial fire on his own hearth, 
and offered milk and rice offerings, or animals, or liba- 
tions of the Soma juice to the fire, and invoked the 
" bright " gods for blessings and health and wealth 
for himself and his children. Chiefs of tribes were 
kings and had professional priests to perform sacrifices 
and utter hymns for them; but there was no priestly 
caste and no royal caste. The people were free, enjoy- 
ing the freedom which belongs to vigorous pastoral and 
agricultural tribes. 



r I THE site of the early home of the Aryans has been 
J- a subject of endless controversies among scholars. 
Into this mooted problem we cannot enter here. Suffice 
it to say that enthusiastic and patriotic Hindu scholars 
will not admit that the first home of. the Aryans was 
anywhere outside of India; while equally patriotic Eu- 
ropean scholars would place the abode of the primitive 
Aryans on the shores of the Baltic Sea. We need 
hardly say that it is not our object to enter into this 
discussion, and we merely repeat here that it is uni- 
versally granted that the civilization, religion, language, 
and literature of the Hindus, from the earliest ages 
to the present day, are centred in India, and in India 
alone. There are, however, a number of facts about 
the life of the primitive Aryans regarding which there 
is no dispute. 


The domestic economy among the early Aryans was 
much the same as it is to-day. The historian of man 
does not find in Aryan history any traces of hetairism 
(or of promiscuous relationship between the sexes), 
of families being reckoned on the mother's side, or 
of inheritance by the female line. On the contrary, 
the father was the protector and the nourisher of the 
family, the mother looked after and fed the children, 
the daughter milked the cattle, and relationship by 
marriage was recognized. Probably the primitive Ar- 
yans had already reached a higher state of civilization 
than promiscuous living would imply. The family, and 
not the tribe, was the unit of society, and the father 
was the head of the family. 

Many of the useful animals had been domesticated, 
as, for example, the cow, the bull, the ox, the sheep, 
the goat, the swine, the dog, and the horse. The wild 
bear, the wolf, the hare, and the dreaded serpent were 
known. Similarly among birds, the goose, the duck, 
the cuckoo, the raven, the quail, the crane, and the owl 
were well known to the early Aryans. 

The various industries were still in their infancy; 
but a commencement in manufactures and arts had 
been made. The Aryans built houses, villages, and 
towns, made roads, and constructed boats for communi- 
cation by water or for a humble kind of trade. Weav- 
ing, spinning, and plaiting were known, and furs, skins, 
and woollen fabrics were made into garments. Car- 
pentry must have made considerable progress, and 
dyeing was known. 


It need scarcely be stated that agriculture was prac- 
tised by the primitive Aryans, and it was this occupa- 
tion which probably gave them their name (arya = 
cultivator). Corn was ground, prepared, and cooked 
in various ways, while the flocks of sheep and cows 
by which every family was surrounded afforded milk 
and meat. There can be little doubt that, although 

Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, N. T. 

agriculture was largely resorted to, many patriarchs 
of families used also to rove about from place to place 
with their attendants and flocks in search of new pas- 
tures, and a fairly large portion of the early Aryans 
led a nomad life. 

War was not infrequent in those primitive times, 
and weapons of bone and of wood, of stone and of 
metal, were known. The bow and the arrow, the sword 
and the spear seem to have been the weapons of war. 









It argues some advance in civilization that the use 
of gold and of silver was undoubtedly known to the 
early Aryans, and, with the simplicity of early races, 
they called gold by the name " yellow " and silver by 
the name " white. " A third metal (ay as) was also 
known, but it is doubtful whether it was iron. 

It is perhaps impossible to conjecture the sort of 
government which obtained in those olden days. Patri- 
archs of tribes and leaders of men undoubtedly ob- 
tained ascendency, and the simple subjects looked up 
to them and called them the protectors or nourishers 
of men, or the chiefs (pati, vis pati, raja) in war as 
well as in peace. The natural feelings of civilized man 
distinguished between right and wrong, and custom and 
a vague perception of what was good for the nation had 
the force of law. And lastly, the primitive religion 
of the Aryans was largely suggested by that which was 
beautiful and striking in the phenomena of nature. 

Adventurous bands of Aryans left their primitive 
home from time to time in quest of food or pasture, of 
kingdoms or plunder. The exact order in which the 
different nations left has not been ascertained and may 
never be ascertained. All that is even approximately 
certain from the historian's standpoint is that a branch 
of the Aryans, designated as Indo-Iranians, appeared 
at an unknown epoch in the land of Asia, but it is not 
yet known whether they were immigrants or indigenous 
to the soil. They travelled southward together, but 
became separated by religious, social, or tribal condi- 
tions, before they reached India. Only the Hindus, 



the worshippers of the Devas as gods, made their way 
to the River Indus and the land of the Five Rivers, 
the Panjab. 

It was these worshippers of the Devas who com- 
posed those hymns which are known as the Rig- Veda, 
and we shall say a few words here about this ancient 
work. Probably there is not another work in the litera- 


ture of mankind which is so deeply interesting, so 
unique in the lessons it imparts. The hoary antiquity 
of this ancient monument, the picture it affords of the 
earliest form of civilization that the Aryans developed 
in any part of the world, and the flood of light it throws 
on the origin of the myths and religions of all Aryan 
nations, make the Rig- Veda deeply interesting. It is, 
moreover, the oldest work in the Aryan world. It 
gives us a picture of the oldest civilization that the 


Aryans developed, and it enlightens and clears up much 
that is dark and obscure in the religions and myths 
of Aryan nations all over the world. 

To the Hindus the Eig-Veda is a work of still higher 
importance. It explains the whole fabric of the later 
Hindu religion; it solves all the complications of later 
mythology; it throws light on the history of the Indian 
mind from its earliest stage of infancy. The Hindu 
learns from this ancient and priceless volume that 
Vishnu, the supreme preserver, and his three steps, 
which cover the universe, mean the sun at its rise, its 
zenith, and its setting; that the terrible god Rudra, 
the supreme destroyer, originally meant the thunder or 
thunder-cloud; and that Brahma, the supreme creator, 
was originally prayer or the god of prayer. 

The Rig- Veda consists of 1028 hymns, comprising 
over ten thousand verses. The hymns are divided 
into ten Mandalas or Books, and with the exception 
of the first and last books, every one of the remaining 
eight books contains hymns said to have been composed 
or rather proclaimed by one Rishi, by which we may 
understand one family or line of teachers. Thus the 
second book is by Gritsamada; the third is by Visva- 
mitra; the fourth is by Vamadeva; the fifth is by Atri; 
the sixth is by Bharadvaja; the seventh is by Vasish- 
tha; the eighth is by Kanva; and the ninth is by 
Angiras. The first book contains 191 hymns, which, 
with scattered exceptions, are composed by fifteen 
Rishis; and the tenth book also contains 191 hymns, 
which are mostly ascribed to fictitious authors. 


The whole or the greater portion of the tenth book 
seems to have been the production of a later period, 
but was thrown in and preserved with the body of the 
older hymns. The hymns of the Eig-Veda were handed 
down from father to son or from teacher to pupil for 
centuries together, and it was in a later age, in the 
Epic Period, that they were arranged and compiled. 
By the close of this period, every verse, every word, 
and every syllable of the Eig-Veda had been counted. 
The number of verses, as computed, varies from 10,402 
to 10,622; the number of words is 153,826; and there 
are altogether 432,000 syllables. 


Rig-Veda 3.33. 



main industry of the ancient Hindus was agri- 
culture; and the very word dry a, " cultivator," is 
the one term in the Rig-Veda which distinguishes the 
conquerors as a class from the aborigines of the coun- 
try. There are, however, two other words in the Rig- 
Veda, which are synonymous, not with the Aryan tribe, 
but rather with man generally; and both of them come 
from roots which indicate cultivation. These are char- 
shana and krishti, and both come from modifications 
of the root krish, to cultivate. 

There are numerous direct allusions in the Rig- Veda 
to agriculture, but the most remarkable among them is 
found in the fourth book in the fifty-seventh hymn, 
which is dedicated to a supposed god of agriculture, 
the Lord of the Field, as he is called, and which we 
translate in full: 

" We will win (cultivate) this field with the Lord 
of the Field; may he nourish our cattle and our horses; 
may he bless us thereby. 



" O Lord of the Field! bestow on us sweet and pure 
and butter-like and delicious and copious rain, even as 
cows give us milk. May the Lords of the water bless 

" May the plants be sweet unto us; may the skies 
and the rains and the firmament be full of sweetness; 

may the Lord of the 
Field be gracious to us. 
We will follow him, un- 
injured by enemies. 

" Let the oxen work 
merrily; let the men 
work merrily; let the 
f plough move on merrily. 
Fasten the traces mer- 
rily; ply the goad mer- 


From a Buddhist sculpture. ,, /-*. /-* -, r-^. 

O Suna and Sira! 

accept this hymn. Moisten this earth with the rain you 
have created in the sky. 

" fortunate Furrow! proceed onwards, we pray 
unto thee; do thou bestow on us wealth and an abun- 
dant crop. 

" May Indra accept this Furrow; may Pushan lead 
her onwards. May she be filled with water, and yield 
us corn year after year. 

" Let the ploughshares turn up the sod merrily; let 
the men follow the oxen merrily; may Parjanya mois- 
ten the earth with sweet rains. Suna and Sira! 
bestow on us happiness." 


We shall seek in vain in the entire range of later 
Sanskrit literature for a passage in which the humble 
hopes and wishes of simple agriculturists are so nat- 
urally described; and equally naive is another hymn, 
also relating to agriculture, part of which may be trans- 
lated thus: 

" Fasten the ploughs, spread out the yokes, and sow 
the seed on this field which has been prepared. Let 
the corn grow with our hymns; let the scythes fall on 
the neighbouring fields where the corn is ripe. 

" The ploughs have been fastened; the labourers 
have spread the yokes; the wise men are uttering 
prayers to gods. 

" Prepare troughs for the drinking of the animals. 
Fasten the leather string, and let us take out water 
from this deep and goodly well which never dries up. 

" The troughs have been prepared for the animals; 
the leather string shines in the deep and goodly well 
which never dries up, and the water is easily got. 
Take out water from the well. 

" Refresh the horses; take up the corn stacked in 
the field; and make a cart which will convey it easily. 
This well, full of water for the drinking of animals, is 
one drona in extent, and there is a stone wheel to it. 
And the reservoir for the drinking of men is one 
skanda. Fill it with water.'' 

Irrigation and cultivation in the Pan jab are only 
possible by means of wells, and wells are reserved 
also for the drinking of men and of beasts; and it is 
not surprising therefore that we should find references 



to wells in the Big- Veda. Another remarkable fact is 
that horses were used for cultivation in those days, a 
custom still common in Europe, but not in India in 
modern times. In yet another hymn we are told how 


water was raised from wells for irrigation. The con- 
trivance was the same as is still in vogue in Northern 
India; a number of pots are tied to a string, and as 
the pots go up and down by the movement of a wheel, 
they are filled in the well and pulled up and emptied 
and sent down again. One hymn of the tenth book 


alludes to irrigation of fields by means of canals 
which were replenished with water by means of a 
drona; and in another we are told that cultivators 
who irrigated their fields kept away birds by uttering 
loud cries. 

Allusions to pasturage, however, are by no means 
so frequent as allusions to agriculture. Piishan is the 
god of shepherds he is the sun as viewed by shep- 
herdsand is supposed to protect them and trav- 
ellers generally in their wanderings over the country. 
And here and there in a hymn to Pushan, we find that 
the Aryans of India had brought with them recollec- 
tions and songs about those migrations which they 
occasionally undertook in their primitive home, if not 
after their settlement in India. We translate one such 
hymn below: 

" Pushan! help us to finish our journey, and 
remove all dangers. Son of the Cloud, do thou march 
before us! 

" Pushan! do thou remove from our path him 
who would lead us astray, who strikes and plunders 
and does wrong. 

" Do thou drive away that wily robber who inter- 
cepts journeys. 

" Do thou trample under thy foot the vile carcass 
of him who plunders us in both ways (by stealth and 
by force) and who commits outrages. 

11 wise Pushan, destroyer of enemies! we implore 
of thee the protection with which thou didst shield and 
encourage our forefathers. 


" Pushan, possessed of all wealth, possessed of 
golden weapons, and chief among beings! bestow on 
us thy riches. 

" Lead us so that enemies who intercept may not 
harm us; lead us by an easy and pleasant path. 
Pushan! devise means (for our safety) on this journey. 

" Lead us to pleasant tracts covered with green 
grass; let there be no extreme heat by the way. O 
Pushan! devise means (for our safety) on this journey. 

" Be powerful in thy protection; fill us with riches; 
bestow on us wealth; make us strong and give us food! 
Pushan! devise means (for our safety) on this 

" We do not blame Pushan; but we extol him in 
our hymns. We solicit wealth from the handsome 

There is also another interesting hymn on the prac- 
tice of taking out cattle to pasture-fields and bringing 
them back. A few verses are worth translating: 

" We call the cowherd, let him take out these cows; 
let him pasture them in the fields; let him know and 
pick out the animals; let him bring them back to the 
house; let him pasture them on all sides. 

" The cowherd seeks for the cows and brings them 
back to the house; he pastures them on all sides. May 
he come home safe. 

" O cowherd! pasture the cows in all directions 
and bring them back. Pasture them in various parts 
of the earth and then bring them back." 

References to trade and commerce must necessarily 


be rare in a collection of hymns to gods; but, neverthe- 
less, we are here and there surprised by passages which 
throw a curious light on the manners of the times. 
Loans and usury were well understood in those days, 
and in one remarkable verse we are reminded of the 
finality of a sale-transaction, when once the sale is 

" One sells a large quantity for a small price, and 
then goes to the purchaser and denies the sale and asks 
for a higher price. But he cannot exceed the price once 


fixed, on the plea that he has given a large quantity. 
Whether the price was adequate or inadequate, the 
price fixed at the time of sale must hold good." 

A passage like this would indicate the existence of 
current money for the purposes of buying and selling. 
We have instances of Rishis, or Vedic bards, acknowl- 
edging the gift of a hundred pieces of gold, and there 
can be no doubt that pieces of gold of a certain fixed 
value were used as money as indicated in these pas- 
sages. At the same time it must be admitted that there 
is no distinct allusion to coined money in the Rig- Veda. 


The word nishka is often used in the Kig-Veda with 
a connotation that is by no means clear. In some pas- 
sages it means money, in others it implies a golden 
ornament for the neck. The two interpretations are 
not necessarily contradictory, for in India pieces of 
gold which serve as money have been used as ornaments 
for the neck from times immemorial. 

On the other hand, there are distinct references to 
voyages by sea, though of course the words used may 
mean rivers only, and not the sea. The shipwreck of 
Bhujyu and his deliverance by the gods Asvins, is con- 
stantly alluded to, and the god Varuna is said to know 
the paths of the birds through the sky and the paths 
of the ships over the sea. Allusion is also made to 
the " people who, desiring to acquire wealth, pray to 
the sea before undertaking a voyage " ; and another 
passage runs: 

" When Varuna and I went on a boat and took her 
out to sea, I lived in the boat floating on the water 
and was happy in it, rocking gracefully (on the 

While there are these and other distinct allusions 
to voyage, there is absolutely no prohibition against 
it in the Rig- Veda, such as prevailed in later times 
and still holds among the orthodox of India. 



BARLEY and wheat seem to have been the chief 
produce of the field, and the principal articles of 
food. The names of grain found in the Rig- Veda are 
somewhat misleading, as they have come to bear a 
different signification in modern days from what they 
had in the ancient times. Thus the word yava, which 
in modern Sanskrit implies barley only, was used in 
the Veda to imply food-grains generally, including 
wheat and barley. And the word dhana, which, in 
Bengal at least, now means paddy or rice, implies in 
the Rig- Veda fried barley, which was used as food and 
offered to the gods. There is no allusion to rice (vrihi) 
in the Rig- Veda. 

We also find mention of various kinds of cakes pre- 
pared from these grains and used as food and offered 
to the gods. The term pakti (from pach, to cook, or 
to prepare) means prepared cakes, and various other 
terms, such as puroddsa (sacrificial cake), apupa (cake), 
and karam'bJia (barley groats), are also used. 

It may easily be imagined that animal food was 
largely used by the early Hindus of the Panjab, and 




we have frequent allusions to the sacrifice and to the 
cooking of cows, buffaloes, and bulls. Mention is also 
made of a slaughter-house where cows were killed, as 
well as of the sacrifice of horses, bulls, and rams. The 
allusions to the sacrifice of the horse are extremely 
rare, showing that, although the custom was introduced 


into India by the early Aryans from their primitive 
home, the flesh of horse as an article of food soon fell 
into disuse. In later times the asvamedha, or sacrifice 
of the horse, was performed on rare occasions with 
great pomp and circumstance by powerful kings, after 
they had subdued their neighbours and assumed a title 
answering to the imperial title in Europe. There can 
be no doubt that this great imperial rite rose out of 



the simple sacrifice of the horse practised in primitive 
times when the horse was still an article of food, but 
the pomp and ceremony, as well as certain revolting 
rites connected with the horse-sacrifice of later days, 
were unknown in Vedic times. 

A fairly complete account of the sacrifice of the 


horse, as it prevailed in Vedic times, is to be found 
in the one hundred and sixty-second hymn of the 
first Mandala of the Rig- Veda. The body of the horse 
was marked with a cane and was then dissected along 
the lines marked, and the ribs and the different limbs 
were separated. The meat was roasted and boiled, 
while the soul of the horse was supposed to go to the 



gods. In later times an endless amount of pomp, cere- 
mony, and detail was woven about this rite of the horse- 
sacrifice, in contrast to the simplicity of Vedic days. 
The fermented juice of the plant called Soma ap- 
pears to have been the only intox- 
icating drink used in Vedic times. 
So much were the ancient Aryans 
addicted to this drink, that Soma 
was soon worshipped as a deity 
both in India and in Iran (under 
the name Haoma in the latter coun- 
try), and we find one entire Man- 
dala, or Book, of the Eig-Veda, 
dedicated to this deity. The Ar- 
yans appear to have been more 
habituated to fermented and intox- 
icating Soma than their peaceful 
brethren of Iran, and some allu- 
sions in the Avesta are thought to 
refer to the hated customs of their 
Indian brethren. Some antiquari- 
ans think that this was one great 
reason of those dissensions which 
broke out among the southern Ar- 
yans and led to the final separation of the Iranians 
from the Hindus. 

The process by which the Soma juice was prepared 
is fully described in the sixty-sixth hymn of the ninth 
book of the Rig- Veda, from which the following verses 
are selected: 




Soma! you have been crushed; you flow as a 
stream to Indra, scattering joy on all sides; you bestow 
immortal food. 

" Seven women stir you with their fingers, blend- 
ing their voices in a song to thee; you remind the 
sacrificer of his duties at the sacrifice. 

" You mix with water with a pleasing sound; and 
the fingers stir you over a woollen strainer, and filter 
you. Your particles are thrown up then, and a sound 
arises from the woollen strainer. 

" The woollen strainer is placed on a vessel, and 
the fingers repeatedly stir the Soma, which sends down 
a sweet stream into the vessel. 

" Soma! you are then mixed with milk. Water 
runs toward you with a pleasing sound. " 

From this description it would appear that the juice 
of Soma used to be taken mixed with milk. The poets 
of the Rig-Veda go into ecstasy over the virtues and 
the exhilarating powers of the Soma, and some of their 
descriptions have developed into the strange Puranic 
legends of the churning of the ocean and the discovery 
of the Amrita, or immortal drink. The sky in the Veda 
is considered watery and is often confused with the 
sea, and the milking of Soma from the sky is trans- 
formed in the Puranas into the churning of the ocean 
for the Amrita. 

It would appear from many passages in the Rig- 
Veda that many arts were carried to a high state of 
excellence. Weaving was well known, of course, and 
deft female fingers wove the warp and woof. In one 


curious passage the seer laments his ignorance of the 
mysteries of religious rites by saying: " I know not 
the warp and I know not the woof ' of religious 
rites; and elsewhere the weaving and bleaching of 
sheep's wool are attributed to the god Pushan, who, as 
we have already seen, is the god of shepherds. 

Every Aryan village had probably its barber then 
as now, and the clearance of forests by fire is in one 
passage described as the shaving of the earth. Car- 
pentry was also well known, and we have frequent 
allusions to the construction of carts and chariots. The 
use of iron, of gold, and of other metals w T as well 
known, and the Rig-Veda contains references to the 
work of the blacksmith and the goldsmith. 

But we get a better idea of working in metals 
in Vedic times from the descriptions of various gold 
ornaments and iron utensils and implements of war 
which are to be found throughout the Rig- Veda. The 
allusions are numerous, and we select only a few 
as illustrations. We are told of armour used in war 
and of golden helmets, while mention is also made of 
armour for the shoulders or arms, probably a shield. 
The lightning is compared not only to a javelin, but 
also to a sword or battle-axe, and to bows and arrows 
and quivers. Three thousand mailed warriors are men- 
tioned; feathered, sharp-pointed, shining shafts are 
described; and sharp-edged swords are noted, as well 
as war-chariots and kettle-drums. And lastly, we have 
a spirited account of the arms and accoutrements of 
war, which we shall translate for our readers further on. 



The steeds of war had golden caparisons, and the 
warriors had golden ornaments about their necks. The 
lightning ornaments of the Maruts are compared to jew- 
elry, necklaces, golden breastplates, and bracelets and 
anklets. We also learn of anklets for the feet, and of 


golden breastplates for the breast, as well as of golden 
crowns for the head. 

Thus it will be seen that a very considerable advance 
had been made in the manufacture of arms, weapons, 
and various kinds of ornaments. We have references 
also to vessels of skin and iron vessels, as well as to 
iron towns, which must be taken in a figurative sense 
as signifying strong forts, and there are likewise allu- 
sions to a hundred stone-built towns. 

There can be no doubt that in the various rocky 


and mountainous tracts where the early Hindus estab- 
lished their colonies, they soon learnt to utilize stone 
as a durable and cheap material for architecture, and 
there can be little difficulty in believing that in some 
of the Vedic towns there were structures and surround- 
ing walls of stone. That the art of building was car- 
ried to some degree of excellence appears from many 


From a Buddhist sculpture. 

allusions to mansions with a thousand pillars, but at the 
same time it must be admitted that there is no distinct 
allusion in the Eig-Veda to the art of sculpture prop- 
erly so called, and the researches of antiquarians have 
failed to discover in any part of India traces of sculp- 
tured stone much anterior to the Buddhist era. 

Most of the animals domesticated at the present 
day were domesticated in India in the remote period 

Colonnade of Hindu Pillars. 

From a Photograph. 


of the Rig- Veda, including cows, goats, sheep, buffaloes, 
and dogs (the latter used in carrying burdens), while 
one passage alludes to a king riding with his ministers 
on an elephant. 

The war-horse, too, received his meed of praise, and 
so highly was he esteemed by the early Aryans in their 
battles against the aborigines, that under the name of 
Dadhikra he soon became an object of worship. It is 
evident, moreover, that the war-horses of the early 
Aryans inspired the aborigines with dire terror, as is 
shown by the following passage from the Rig- Veda: 

" As people shout and raise a cry after a thief who 
has purloined a garment, even so the enemies yell and 
shout at the sight of Dadhikra! As birds make a noise 
at the sight of the hungry hawk on its descent, even so 
the enemies yell and shout at the sight of Dadhikra 
careering in quest of plunder and cattle ! 

" Enemies fear Dadhikra, who is radiant and des- 
troying as a thunderbolt. When he beats back a thou- 
sand men around him, he becomes excitable and un- 
controllable in his strength. " 



WHEN the early Hindus wrested the fertile tracts 
on the banks of the Indus and its tributaries 
from the primitive races of the Pan jab, the aborigines 
did not give up their birthright without a struggle. 
Retreating before the more civilized organization and 
valour of the Hindus in the open field, they still lurked 
in fastnesses and forests near every Aryan settlement 
and village, harassed their conquerors in their communi- 
cations, waylaid and robbed them at every opportunity, 
stole their cattle, and often attacked them in consider- 
able force. 

Unfortunately for themselves, however, they had no 
poet to hand down their story to later ages, and our 
only account of this long war of centuries is from the 
conquering Hindus. The conquest by the Aryans meant 
a widening of the area of civilization; waste and jungle 
lands were reclaimed and dotted with villages and 
towns, and the barbarians either submitted to the con- 
querors or retreated to those hills and mountains where 
their descendants still live. History repeats itself, and 
the banks of the Indus were cleared of these non- Aryan 



aborigines less than eighteen hundred years before 
Christ in much the same manner as the banks of 
the Mississippi have been cleared of their non- Aryan 
tribes in modern times eighteen hundred years after- 

To these wars with the aborigines we have frequent 
allusions in the Rig- Veda, and a translation of some 
of these passages will give a better idea of these inter- 
minable hostilities than any account that we can give 
of them. The allusions are so numerous that our 
only difficulty is in making a selection. Thus we 

" Indra, who is invoked by many, and is accom- 
panied by his fleet companions, has destroyed by his 
thunderbolt the Dasyus and Simyus who dwelt on 
earth, and then he distributed the fields to his white- 
complexioned friends (Aryans)/' Or again: " Indra 
with his weapon, the thunderbolt, and in his vigour, 
destroyed the towns of the Dasyus, and wandered at 
his will. holder of the thunderbolt be thou cogni- 
zant of our hymns, and cast thy weapon against the 
Dasyu, and increase the vigour and the fame of the 

One of the hymns of the Rig- Veda contains a curi- 
ous allusion to aboriginal robbers who dwelt on the 
banks of four small streams called the Sipha, the 
Anjasi, the Kulisi, and the Virapatni. These robbers, 
led by Kuyava and Ayu, issued from their fastnesses 
and harassed the civilized Aryan villages, much in the 
same way as a true descendant of those aborigines, the 


Bhil Tantia in our own times, harassed the peaceful 
villages of Central India. 

Other passages alluding to these early struggles 
read as follows: 

" Indra protects his Arya worshipper in wars. He 
who protects him on countless occasions, protects him 
in all wars. He subdues the people who do not per- 
form sacrifices for the benefit of men. He flays the 
enemy of his black skin and kills him and reduces him 
to ashes. He burns down all who do injury and all 
who are cruel." 

" O destroyer of foes! collect together the heads of 
these marauding troops, and crush them with thy wide 
foot! Thy foot is wide! 

" O Indra! destroy the power of these marauding 
troops! Throw them into the vile pit the vast and 
vile pit! 

" Indra! thou hast destroyed three times fifty such 
troops! People extol this thy deed, but it is nothing 
compared to thy prowess! 

" Indra! destroy the Pishachis, who are reddish 
in appearance and utter fearful yells. Destroy all these 

" Indra! the poet prays to thee for pleasant food. 
Thou hast made the earth the bed (burial-ground) of 
the Dasas. Indra has beautified the three regions with 
his gifts; he has slain Kuyavacha for King Daryori. 

" Indra! Seers still extol that ancient deed of 
prowess! Thou hast destroyed many marauders to put 
an end to war; thou hast stormed the towns of enemies 


who worship no gods; and thou hast bent the weapons 
of foes who worship no gods. 

" Asvins! destroy those who are yelling hideously 
like dogs and are coming to destroy us! Slay those 
who wish to fight with us! You know the way to 
destroy them. 

" The far-famed god Indra has raised up the (Ar- 
yan) man. Strong, mighty, and triumphant, he has 
brought low the head of the malignant Dasa! 

" Indra, who slew Vritra and stormed towns, has 
destroyed the troops of the black Dasas, and has made 
the earth and the water for the (Aryan) man, and 
fulfilled the wishes of the sacrifices " 

It would seem from numerous passages in the Rig- 
Veda that Kutsa was a powerful warrior and a mighty 
destroyer of the black aborigines. Thus we are told 
that the god Indra, in order to bestow wealth on Kutsa, 
slew the " Dasyu, who is wily and impious " ; that 
he helped Kutsa and came to his house with the 
object of slaying the Dasyu; and that he slew fifty 
thousand " black-complexioned enemies ' in battle. 
We also learn that Indra made the Dasyus devoid of 
all virtues, and the object of hatred of all men; and 
that Indra destroyed five hundred and a thousand 

We have similar allusions to the subjugation and 
destruction of Dasyus or Dasas in other passages, while 
there is a curious reference to an unknown region in- 
habited by the Dasyus which deserves translation: 

"0 ye gods! We have travelled and lost our way 


and come to a region where cattle do not pasture. The 
extensive region gives shelter to Dasyus only. O Bri- 
haspati! lead us in our search for cattle. O Indra! 
show the way to your worshippers who have lost their 

We have already mentioned Kuyava and Ayu, two 
aboriginal robbers who dwelt in fastnesses surrounded 
by rivers, and harassed the Aryan villages. We like- 
wise have frequent allusions to another powerful ab- 
original leader called Krishna, or Black, probably be- 
cause of his black complexion. One of the passages 
relating to him is here rendered: 

" The fleet Black warrior lived on the banks of 
the Ansumati River with ten thousand troops. Indra 
of his own wisdom became cognizant of this loud-yelling 
chief; he destroyed the marauding host for the benefit 
of (Aryan) men. 

" Indra said: ' I have seen the fleet Krishna. He 
is lurking in the hidden regions near the Ansumati, 
like the sun in a cloud. O Maruts! I desire you to 
engage in fight and to destroy him.' 

" The fleet Black warrior then appeared shining on 
the banks of the Ansumati. Indra took Brihaspati 
as his ally and destroyed the fleet and godless army." 

Not only have the aborigines been described as 
howling, yelling, and devoid of a language, but they 
are considered scarcely human. We are told in one 

" We are surrounded on all sides by Dasyu tribes. 
They do not perform sacrifices; they do not believe in 


anything; their rites are different; they are not men! 
destroyer of foes, kill them! Destroy the Dasa 
race! ' 

Elsewhere Indra proclaims that he deprived the 
Dasyu race of the name of Arya; that he destroyed 
Navavast T a and Brihadratha of the Dasa race ; and that 


he cut the Dasas in twain" it is for this fate that they 
have been born! ' 

Such were the aborigines with whom the early 
Hindus carried on interminable war, and such was the 
fate to which they consigned their less civilized neigh- 
bours, the primeval owners of the Indian soil ! It is 
abundantly evident that no love was lost between the 
conquerors and the conquered. It was by ceaseless 
fighting that the conquerors protected themselves in 


their newly conquered country, gradually extended the 
limits of cultivation, built new villages, threw out new 
colonies in primeval jungles, and spread the fame of 
their prowess around, and thus Aryan history moves 

On the other hand, the stubborn barbarians had their 
revenge. Retreating before the more civilized valour 
of the Hindus, they hung about in every fastness and 


every bend of a river, they waylaid and robbed trav- 
ellers, harassed villages, killed or stole cattle, and some- 
times fell on the Aryans in great hordes. With that 
dogged tenacity which is peculiar to barbarians they 
disputed every inch of ground as they retreated, they 
interrupted the religious rites of the conquerors, de- 
spised their gods, and plundered their wealth. But in 
spite of every resistance, the colonies of the more civ- 
ilized races extended in every direction, the area of 
civilization widened, jungles and wastes were brought 


under cultivation and dotted with villages and royal 
towns, and the kingdoms of the early Hindus extended 
over the whole of the Panjab. The barbarians either 
were exterminated or retreated before the ever-advan- 
cing line of Aryan civilization into those hills and fast- 
nesses which their children still inhabit. 

It may be imagined, however, that some of the 
weaker barbarians preferred subjection to extermina- 
tion or exile; and the Rig- Veda contains allusions to 
Dasyus who at last owned the domination of the more 
powerful race and who adopted their civilization and 
their language. These, then, were the first Hinduized 
aborigines of India. 

On the other hand, the Aryan conquerors were not 
always at peace among themselves. Sudas was an 
Aryan king, lord of the Tritsu tribe, and a mighty 
conqueror. We are frequently told that various Aryan 
tribes and kings combined against him, but he was vic- 
torious over them all. The allusions to these internecine 
wars among Aryan races, and to the particular tribes 
who fought against Sudas, especially in the famous bat- 
tle known as the Battle of the Ten Kings, are historic- 
ally among the most important passages in the Rig- 
Veda. The united armies of ten allied kings, aroused 
to combat by the priest Visvamitra, who had himself 
once been a warrior, met Sudas at the river Ravi (then 
called Parushni). Sudas is aided by divine help, in- 
voked by his priest Vasishta, and by the river whose 
flood sweeps the foe to destruction. The following are 
verses from the paean that celebrates the victory: 


" The wily foes planned destruction and broke 
down the embankment of the Adina (to cause an inun- 
dation). But Sudas filled the earth with his prowess, 
and Kavi, the son of Chayamana, fell like a victim. 

" For the waters of the river flowed through their 
old channel and did not take a new course; and Sudas 's 
horse marched over the country. Indra placed the hos- 
tile and talkative men and their children under Sudas. 

" Sudas earned glory by killing twenty-one men 
of both regions. As the young priest cuts the kusa 
grass in the house of sacrifice, even so Sudas cut his 
enemies. The hero Indra sent the Maruts for his 

" The sixty-six thousand six hundred and sixty-six 
warriors of Ami and Druhya, who had desired cattle 
and were hostile to Sudas, were laid low. These deeds 
proclaim the glory of Indra! ' 

Another hymn relating to Sudas runs thus: 

" Indra and Varuna! Your worshippers, relying 
on your help and seeking to win cattle, have marched 
eastwards with their weapons. Crush, Indra and Va- 
runa, your enemies, whether Dasas or Aryas, and 
defend Sudas with your protection. 

" Where men raise their banners and meet in battle, 
where nothing seems to favour us, where the men look 
up to the sky and tremble, there, Indra and Varuna! 
help us and speak to us words of comfort. 

" O Indra and Varuna! the ends of the earth seem 
to be lost, and the noise ascends to the skies! The 
troops of the enemy are approaching. O Indra and 


Varuna! who ever listen to prayers, come near us with 
your protection. 

" Indra and Varuna! you pierced the yet unas- 
sailed Bheda, and saved Sudas. You listened to the 
prayers of the Tritsus. Their priestly vocation bore 
fruit in the hour of battle. 

" Indra and Varuna! the weapons of the enemy 
assail me in all directions, the foes assail me among 
marauding men. You are the owners of both kinds of 
wealth! Save us in the day of battle. 

" Both parties invoked Indra and Varuna for wealth 
at the time of war. But in this battle you protected 
Sudas with the Tritsus who were attacked by ten kings. 

" Indra and Varuna! the ten kings who did not 
perform sacrifices were unable, though combined, to 
beat Sudas. 

" You bestowed vigour, Indra and Varuna, on Sudas, 
when surrounded by ten chiefs; when the white-robed 
Tritsus, wearing braided hair, worshipped you with 
oblations and hymns." 

Another remarkable hymn gives an account of the 
weapons used in war in those days. We make some 

" When the battle is nigh and the warrior marches 
in his armour, he appears like the cloud! Warrior, let 
not thy person be pierced; be victorious; let thy 
armour protect thee! 

" We will win cattle with the bow, we will win 
with the bow; we will conquer the fierce and proud 
enemy with the bow! May the bow foil the desires of 



the enemy! We will spread our conquests on all sides 
with the bow! 

" The string of the bow when pulled approaches 
the ear of the archer, making way in battle. It whis- 
pers words of consolation to him and with sound it 


(From a Gandbara sculpture.) 

clasps the arrow, even as a loving wife clasps her 

" The quiver is like the parent of many arrows; the 
many arrows are like its children. It makes a sound 
and hangs on the back of the warrior and furnishes 
arrows in battle and conquers the enemy. 

" The expert charioteer stands on his chariot and 


drives his horses wheresoever he will. The reins re- 
strain the horses from behind. Sing of their glory. 

" The horses raise the dust with their hoofs and 
career over the field with the chariots, with loud neigh- 
ings. They do not retreat, but trample the marauding 
enemies under their feet. 

" The arrow is feathered; the deer (horn) is its 
teeth. Well pulled and sent by the cow-leather string, 
it falls on the enemy. Wherever men stand together 
or are separate, there the shafts reap advantage. 

" The leather guard protects the arm from the abra- 
sion of the bow-string, and coils round the arm like a 
snake in its convolutions. It knows its work, and is 
efficient, and protects the warrior in every way. 

" We extol the arrow which is poisoned, whose face 
is of iron and whose stem is of Parjanya." 

Before concluding our extracts, we will make one 
more from a hymn about the coronation of victorious 
kings. It is commonly regarded as a later hymn, but 
it has an interest for the student of history and of 

" king! I place you in the station of a king. 
Be the lord of this country! Be immovable and fixed! 
Let all your subjects cherish you! Let not your king- 
dom be destroyed! 

" Eemain here fixed as the mountain; do not be 
dethroned! Eemain fixed like Indra and support the 

" Indra has received the sacrificial offerings and 
supports the newly crowned king! Soma blesses him. 


" The sky is fixed, the earth is fixed, the moun- 
tains are fixed, this universe is fixed. He also is fixed 
as king among his subjects! 

" May King Varuna make you immovable! May 
the good Brihaspati make you immovable! May Indra 
and Agni support you and make you immovable! 

" See, I mix these immortal offerings with the 
immortal Soma-juice. Indra has brought your subjects 
under your rule, and made them willing to pay you 


These extracts are enough. We have elsewhere 
shown that the warriors used not only armour and 
helmets, but also protecting armour for the shoulder, 
probably shields. They used javelins and battle-axes, 
and sharp-edged swords, besides bows and arrows. All 
the weapons of war known elsewhere in ancient times 
were known in India four thousand years ago. Drums 
assembled men in battle, banners led them on in com- 
pact masses, and the use of war-horses and chariots 
was well known; but it does not appear that elephants 
were regularly used in war in the Vedic Period, as 
they were in the third and fourth centuries before 
Christ when the Greeks came to India. 

For the rest, it was a turbulent time when the Vedic 
warriors lived and fought. They had not only to wage 
unceasing war against the aborigines, but the Hindu 
states were divided among themselves, and a powerful 
leader was often bent on annexing his neighbour's state. 
Rishis engaged in sacrifices asked for prowess to conquer 
their foes or prayed to the gods for sons who would 


win victory in battles. Every able-bodied man was a 
warrior and was ever prepared to defend his home 
and his fields and his cattle with his strong right arm. 
Every Hindu colony or tribe, while attentive to the 
worship of the gods and to the cultivation of the vari- 
ous arts of peace, was at the same time alive to the 
fact that its national existence depended on constant 
readiness for war. And the great conglomeration of 
Hindu tribes, which spread from the banks of the Indus 
to the banks of the Sarasvati, consisted of hardy, brave, 
and warlike peoples who maintained their footing in 
the land and their independence and national existence 
by constant struggles and a determination to win or 



IT was by such continuous wars against the aborigines 
of the soil that the Aryans at last conquered the 
whole of the Pan jab from the Indus to the Sarasvati, 
and from the mountains probably to the sea. As might 
be expected, we have in the Rig- Veda frequent allusions 
to the Indus and its five tributaries, especially in the 
seventy-fifth hymn of the tenth book, which we trans- 
late in full: 

" ye streams! The bard celebrates your excellent 
prowess in the house of the worshipper. They flow in 
three systems, seven streams in each system. The 
prowess of the Indus is superior to that of all others. 

" Indus! when you ran towards land rich in food, 
Varuna opened out the way for you. You flow over 
a spacious path on the land. You shine above all 
flowing rivers. 

" The mighty sound of the Indus ascends above 
the earth to the sky! She flows with mighty force 
and in radiant form. Her mighty sound is heard as if 
rains were descending from the clouds with great noise. 
The Indus comes roaring like a bull. 

" As cows bring milk to their calves, even thus, 




Indus, the other streams come sounding to you with 
their waters! As a king marches with his forces to 
battle, even thus you march in front with two systems 
of rivers flowing by your side! 

" Ganga! Yamuna and Sarasvati and Sutudri 
(Sutlaj) and Parushni (Ravi) ! share this my praise 
among you! O river combined with Asikni (Chinab)! 


Vitasta (Jihlam)! Arjikiya (Beas), combined 
with Sushoma (Indus)! hear my words. 

" Indus! first thou flowest united with Trishtama, 
then with Susartu and Rasa and the Sveti. You unite 
Krumu (Kurum River) and Gomati (Gomal River) 
with Kubha (Cabul River) and Mehatnu. You proceed 
together with these rivers. 

" The irresistible Indus proceeds straight, white 
and dazzling in splendour! She is great, and her 
waters fill all sides with mighty force. Of all the 
flowing rivers, none is flowing like her! She is wild 
like a mare, beautiful like a well-developed woman! 



" The Indus is ever young and beautiful. She is 
rich in horses, in chariots, and in garments; she is rich 
in gold and is beauteously clad! She is rich in corn 
and in wool and in straw, and has covered herself with 
sweet flowers. 

" The Indus has fastened horses to her easy chariot 


and has brought food therein to us. The greatness of 
the chariot is extolled as mighty; it is irresistible and 
great and rich in its fame! ' 

The poet in this hymn, as Max Miiller said, takes 
in at one swoop three great river-systems, those flowing 
from the northwest into the Indus, those joining it from 
the northeast, and in the distance the Ganges and the 
Jumna with their tributaries. " It shows the widest 



geographical horizon of the Vedic poets, confined by 
the snowy mountains in the north, the Indus and the 
range of the Suleiman Mountains in the west, the Indus 
or the sea in the south, and the valley of the Jumna 
and Ganges in the east." The hymn has historical 
significance, therefore, with regard to the expansion of 
the Aryans. 

The rivers of the Pan jab are sometimes spoken of 
together as the " seven rivers," and in one passage 
the seven rivers are said to have the Indus for their 
mother and the Sarasvati as the seventh. The Indus 
and its five branches still water the primeval home of 
the early Hindus, but the Sarasvati, which was the most 
sacred of ancient rivers and was worshipped even in 
that remote time as a goddess, has since ceased to flow. 
Its bed remains visible near Kurukshetra and Thanes- 
var, however, and these places are still considered 
sacred by the Hindus. 

There is one somewhat curious passage in which the 
sage Visvamitra, accompanied by chariots and horses 
and the booty-seeking host of the Bharatas, finds dif- 
ficulty in crossing the confluence of the Bias and the 
Sutlaj and pours out an entire hymn to appease the 
anger of the roaring flood. The rivers yield to the 
honeyed words of the priest and lower their courses so 
that the raiding host crosses in safety. 

While references to the rivers of the Panjab are 
thus frequent, allusions to the Ganges and the Jumna 
are rare, the former being mentioned only twice and 
the latter three times, but with sufficient clearness to 


show that the Aryans had at least begun to push as far 
to the south and east as this territory. 

Thus the land of the five rivers was the earliest 
home of the Aryan settlers in India, and it would seem 
that the settlers in the Panjab gradually formed them- 
selves into five tribes or nations, especially as the " five 
lands," " five cultivating tribes/' and " five peoples ' 
are frequently mentioned in the Rig- Veda. 

We now turn to the interesting and pleasing subject 
of the social and domestic manners and the home life of 
these five tribes of the Panjab. The first thing that 
strikes us here is the absence of those unhealthy rules 
and restrictions, those marked distinctions between man 
and man and between class and class, which form the 
most unpleasant feature of later Hindu society. We 
have already seen that the sturdy Hindus of the Vedic 
Period recognized no restrictions against the use of beef, 
and that they referred with pride to their merchants' 
going to sea. We have seen, too, that the Rishis did 
not form a separate and exclusive class and did not 
pass their lives apart from the world in penance and 
contemplation. On the contrary, the Rishis were prac- 
tical men of the world who owned large herds of cattle, 
cultivated fields, fought against the aboriginal enemies 
in time of war, and prayed to their gods for wealth 
and cattle, for victory in war, and for blessings on 
their wives and children. Every father of a family was, 
in fact, a Rishi on a small scale, and worshipped his 
gods in his own house in his own fashion, while the 
women of the family joined in the worship and helped 


in the performance of the ceremonies. Some among 
the community were of course prominent in the com- 
position of hymns and the performance of great sac- 
rifices, and kings and rich men sent for them on great 
occasions, and rewarded them handsomely. But even 
these great composers these great Rishis of the Rig- 
Vedadid not form an exclusive caste of their own. 
They were worldly men, who mixed and married with 
the people, shared property with the people, fought the 
wars of the people, and were of the people; nor is there 
a shadow of evidence to prove that they formed a caste 
of their own, different from the fighters and cultivators. 
Except for the ninetieth hymn of the tenth book, writ- 
ten long after the Vedic period, there is not a single 
allusion to caste in the entire collection of the Rig- 
Veda, composed during six hundred years and more, 
and replete with references to the habits and manners 
and customs of the people, to agriculture and pasture 
and manufacture, to wars against aborigines, to mar- 
riage and domestic rules, to the duties and position 
of women, to religious observances and to the science 
of the time. But if this be negative proof, there is 
positive evidence as well, and various passages in the 
Rig- Veda show that the caste system did not exist at 
the time when the hymns were written and compiled. 
The very word varna, which in later Sanskrit denotes 
caste, is used in the Rig- Veda to distinguish the Aryans 
and the non-Aryans, and nowhere indicates separate 
sections in the Aryan community. The word Kshat- 
riya, which in later Sanskrit means the military caste, 


is used in the Rig- Veda simply as an adjective which 
means strong, and is applied to gods. The word Vipra, 
which in later Sanskrit denotes the priestly caste, is 
used in the Rig- Veda merely as an adjective which 
means wise and which is applied to gods. And the 
word Brahmana, which in later Sanskrit connotes also 
the priestly caste, is used in a hundred places in the 
Rig- Veda to imply the composers of hymns, and nothing 

As we have seen, every father of a family was his 
own priest, and his home was his temple. There is 
no mention of idols in the Rig- Veda, none of temples 
or places of worship where the people were to congre- 
gate. The sacred fire was lighted in the house of every 
householder, and he chanted the hymns which we now 
find collected in the Rig- Veda. We have a pleasing 
picture of women who assisted at these sacrifices, who 
ordered the necessary things, prepared them with pestle 
and mortar, extracted the Soma-juice, stirred it with 
their fingers, and strained it through a woollen strainer. 
In numerous places we find mention of wives that joined 
their husbands and performed the sacrifice together with 
them, as is shown in the following hymn: 

" ye gods! The married couple who prepare ob- 
lations together, who purify the Soma-juice and mix 
it with milk, 

" May they obtain food for their eating and come 
united to the sacrifice. May they never have to go in 
quest of food. 

" They do not make vain promises of offerings to the 



gods, nor withhold your praise. They worship you with 
the best offerings. 

" Blest with youthful and adolescent offspring, they 
acquire gold, and they 
both attain to a ma- 
ture age. 

" The gods them- 
selves covet the wor- 
ship of such a couple 
who are fond of sacri- 
fices, and offer grate- 
ful food to the gods." 

Still more charm- 
ing is the picture of 
women who them- 
selves acted as Eishis, 
and composed hymns 
and performed sacri- 
fices like men. For 
there were no harmful 
restrictions placed on 
women in those days, 
no attempt to keep 
them secluded or un- 
educated or debarred 
from their legitimate place in society. There is men- 
tion of veiled wives and brides, but no reference to 
the enforced seclusion of women. On the contrary, we 
meet them everywhere in their legitimate spheres of 
action, taking a share in sacrifices and exercising their 


From a painting by Edwin Lord Weeks. Copy- 
right, 1895, by Harper & Brothers. 


influence on society. We cherish the picture of the 
cultured lady Visvavara, which has been handed down 
to us through thousands of years a pious woman who 
composed hymns, performed sacrifices, and with true 
fervency invoked the god Agni to regulate and keep 
within virtuous bounds the mutual relations of married 
couples. We meet with the names of other women also 
who were Eishis of the Rig- Veda. 

In Vedic times, the relations of life were determined 
by the needs and requirements of individuals rather 
than by cast-iron rules, as in later days, and there was 
no religious obligation, therefore, that every girl must 
be married. On the contrary, we find allusions to un- 
married women who remained in the homes of their 
fathers and naturally claimed and obtained a share 
of the paternal property. On the other hand, we have 
frequent references to careful and industrious wives 
who superintended the arrangements of the house and 
who possessed those domestic virtues for which Hindu 
wives have always been noted from the earliest to the 
present times. Occasionally we have allusions to 
women who went astray, to maidens who had no broth- 
ers to watch over their morals, and to wives who 
were faithless to their husbands, while elsewhere we 
are told of the wife of a ruined gambler who becomes 
the object of other men's lust. 

It would seem that girls had some voice in the 
selection of their husbands. Their selection was not 
always happy, for " many a woman is attracted by the 
wealth of him who seeks her. But the woman who is 



of gentle nature and of graceful form selects, among 
many, her own loved one as her husband." There 
can be no doubt, however, that fathers always exercised 
a wise control in the selection of husbands for their 
daughters, and, as at the 
present day, fathers gave 
the maidens away adorned 
and decked with golden or- 

The ceremony of mar- 
riage was an appropriate 
one, and the promises 
which the bridegroom and 
the bride made to each 
other were suitable to the 
occasion. It is happily 
described in a hymn in the 
later portion of the Rig- 
Veda, which proves that 
the custom of child-mar- 
riage was then unknown, and that girls were married 
after they had attained their youth. The following 
verses from it show the Vedic marriage ritual: 

" Visvavasu (god of marriage)! arise from this 
place, for the marriage of this girl is over. We extol 
Visvavasu with hymns and prostrations. 

" Visvavasu! arise from this place. We wor- 
ship thee, bending in adoration. Go to an unmarried 
maiden whose person is well developed; make her a 
wife and unite her to a husband. 



" Let the paths by which our friends go in quest 
of a maiden for marriage be easy and free of thorns. 
May Aryaman and Bhaga lead us well. gods! may 
the husband and wife be well united. 

" maiden! the graceful sun had fastened thee 
with ties (of maidenhood), we release thee now of those 
ties. We place thee with thy husband in a place which 
is the home of truth and the abode of righteous actions. 

" We release this maiden from this place (her 
father's house), but not from that place (her husband's 
house). We unite her well with that place. Indra! 
may she be fortunate and the mother of worthy sons. 

" May Pushan lead thee by the hand from this 
place. May the two Asvins lead thee in a chariot. Go 
to thy (husband's) house and be the mistress of the 
house. Be the mistress of all and exercise thine au- 
thority over all in that house. 

" Let children be born unto thee, and blessings 
attend thee here. Perform the duties of thy household 
with care. Unite thy person with the person of this 
thy husband; exercise thy authority in this thy house 
until old age. 

" First Soma accepts thee; then Gandharva accepts 
thee; Agni is thy third lord; the child of man is the 
fourth to accept thee. 

" Soma bestowed this maiden on Gandharva, Gan- 
dharva gave her to Agni, Agni has given her to me with 
wealth and progeny. 

" bridegroom and bride! do ye remain here to- 
gether; do not be separated. Enjoy food of various 


kinds; remain in your own home and enjoy happiness 
in the company of your children and grandchildren. 

" (The bride and bridegroom say) May Prajapati 
bestow on us children; may Aryaman keep us united 
till old age. (Address to the bride) O bride! Enter 
with auspicious signs the home of thy husband. Do 
good to our male servants and our female servants, and 
to our cattle. 

" Be thine eyes free from anger; minister to the 
happiness of thy husband; do good to our cattle. May 
thy mind be cheerful, and may thy beauty be bright. 
Be the mother of heroic sons and be devoted to the 
gods. Do good to our male servants and our female 
servants, and to our cattle. 

" Indra! make this woman fortunate and the 
mother of worthy sons. Let ten sons be born of her, 
so that there may be eleven men in the family with 
the husband. 

" (Address to the bride) Mayest thou have influence 
over thy father-in-law and over thy mother-in-law, and 
be as a queen over thy sister-in-law and brother-in- 

Polygamy was allowed among kings and the rich 
in Vedic times, as it was allowed in olden times in all 
countries and among all nations. Domestic dissensions 
were the natural result, and we have hymns in the 
latter part of the Rig- Veda in which wives curse their 
fellow wives. The evil seems, however, to have grown 
in the latter part of the Vedic Age, for there are 
scarcely any allusions to it in the earlier hymns. 


There are two curious verses which seem to lay 
down the law of inheritance and are therefore of pecul- 
iar interest. We give a translation of them here: 

" The father who has no son honours his son-in-law, 
capable of begetting sons, and goes (i. e. leaves his 
property) to the son of his daughter. The sonless 
father trusts in his daughter's offspring and lives 

" A son does not give any of his father's property 
to a sister. He gives her away to be the wife of a 
husband. If a father and mother beget both son and 
daughter, then one (i. e. the son) engages himself in 
the acts and duties of his father,, while the other (the 
daughter) receives honour." 

This is the first germ of the Hindu law of inherit- 
ance, which makes the son, and not the daughter, the 
inheritor of his father's property and religious duties, 
and which allows the property to go to the daughter's 
son only in the absence of male issue. We think we 
discover the first germs of the Hindu law of adoption, 
too, in such passages as the following: 

" A son begotten of another may yield us happiness, 
but can never be regarded or accepted as one's own. 
And verily he ultimately goes back to his own place. 
Therefore may a son be newly born unto us who will 
bring us food and destroy our foes." 

We will now supplement our account of domestic 
customs by making some extracts with regard to fu- 
neral rites. Yama in the Rig-Veda is the god of the 
heaven of the righteous, the god who rewards the vir- 


tuous man in a happy land after his death. His two 

dogs, however, are objects to be avoided or propitiated. 

" thou deceased! proceed to the same place where 

our forefathers have gone, by the same path which they 


followed. The two kings, Yama and Varuna, are 
pleased with the offerings; go and see them. 

" Go to that happy heaven and join the early fore- 
fathers. Join Yama and the fruits of thy virtuous 
deeds. Leave sin behind, enter thy home. 

" ye ghosts! leave this place, go away, move 
away! for the forefathers have prepared a place for 
the deceased. That place is beautiful with day, with 
sparkling waters, and with light; Yama assigns this 
place to the dead. 


" thou deceased! these two dogs have four eyes 
each, and a strange colour. Go past them quickly. 
Then proceed by the beautiful path to those wise fore- 
fathers who spend their time in joy and happiness with 

These verses give us some idea of the belief in future 
happiness as it prevailed among the Hindus of the 
Vedic Age. The rites of cremation and burial are 
alluded to in the following passages: 

" fire! do not reduce this deceased to ashes; do 
not give him pain. Do not mangle his skin or his 
person. fire! send him to the home of our fathers 
as soon as his body is burnt in thy heat." 

" thou deceased! go to the extended earth who 
is as a mother; she is extensive and beautiful. May 
her touch be soft as that of wool or of a female. You 
have performed sacrifices; may she save thee from 

" O earth! rise up above him, do not give him pain. 
Give him good things, give him consolation. As a 
mother covers her child with the hem of her garment, 
so cover the deceased. 

" Let the earth, raised on him as a mound, lie light. 
Let a thousand particles of dust rest on him. Let 
them be to him as a house filled with butter, let them 
form a shelter to him." 

It remains only to allude to one more remarkable 
verse of this hymn, the eighteenth in the tenth book, 
which distinctly sanctions the marriage of widows: 

" Rise up, woman, thou art lying by one whose life 


is gone; come to the world of the living, away from 
thy husband, and become the wife of him who holds 
thy hand and is willing to marry thee." 

It is with pain and regret that we refer to another 
passage belonging to the same hymn in the tenth book 
from which this last verse is cited. The passage in 
question may be thus translated: 

" May these women not suffer the pangs of widow- 
hood. May they who have good and desirable husbands 
enter their houses with collyrium and butter. Let these 
women, without shedding tears and without any sor- 
row, first proceed to the house, wearing valuable orna- 
ments." In itself this verse is perfectly harmless, yet 
by the change in it of agre (" first ") to agneh (" of 
the fire ") sanction was found in later times for the 
institution of suttee, or the burning of the widow on 
the pyre of her husband, though in the original form 
of the stanza and this cannot be too strongly empha- 
sizedthe cruelest of all Hindu institutions finds no 
support whatever. 



THE religion of the Rig- Veda is well known. It was 
pre-eminently the worship of nature in its most 
imposing and sublime aspects. The sky which bends 
over all, the beautiful and blushing dawn which like 
a busy housewife wakes men from slumber and sends 
them to their work, the gorgeous tropical sun which 
vivifies the earth, the air which pervades the world, 
the fire which cheers and enlightens man, and the 
violent storms which in India usher in those copious 
rains which fill the land with plenty these were the 
gods whom the early Hindus loved to extol and to wor- 
ship. And often when an ancient Rishi sang the praises 
of any of the gods, he forgot that there was any other 
god besides, and his hymn had the character and the 
sublimity of a prayer to the one God of the universe. 
Indeed the seers themselves often rose higher than 
the level of nature-worship and boldly declared that 
the different gods were but different manifestations 
or different names of the one Primal Cause. 

The sky was naturally the most prominent object 
of worship, and as the sky assumes various aspects, 
various names were given to it, and the conception 



of various deities was formed. The oldest is probably 
Dyu, but in India he soon lost his place, and the sky 
in one of its peculiar functions soon usurped his place. 
For in India the annual rise of rivers, the fertility of 
land, and the luxuriance of crops depend, not on the 
sky which shines above us, but on the sky that rains, 
and Indra soon became the first among the Vedic gods. 

Another ancient name of the sky was Varuna, the 
sky which covered the earth, probably the sky with- 
out light, the nightly sky. Both the idea and the name 
of Varuna as a god of sky were known to the ancestors 
of the Aryan nations before the Indo- Aryans and the 
Iranians separated. In that remote period Varuna was 
the highest and holiest of the gods, and represented the 
spiritual aspect of religion. After the separation had 
taken place, this deity of righteousness was translated 
in Iran into Ahura Mazda, the supreme deity, while 
to the Hindu Varuna the Vedic bard sang: 

" O Varuna! the birds that fly have not attained 
thy power or thy vigour; the water which flows cease- 
lessly and the moving wind do not surpass thy speed. 

" King Varuna of unsullied power remains in the 
firmament and holds on high the rays of light. 

" King Varuna has spread out the path for the 
course of the sun. He has made the path for the sun 
to traverse in pathless space. 

" O King Varuna! a hundred and a thousand medi- 
cinal drugs are thine; may thy beneficence be vast and 
deep. Keep unrighteousness away from us, deliver us 
from the sins we have committed. 


" Yonder stars which are placed on high and are 
seen by night where do they go by day? The acts 
of Varuna are irresistible; the moon shines brightly 
by his mandate." 

Elsewhere, in more ethical strain, the poet prays 
forgiveness for his sins: 

" O Varuna! with an anxious heart I ask thee about 
my sins. I have gone to learned men to make inquiry; 
the sages have all said to me, ' Varuna is displeased 
with thee.' 

" O Varuna! what have I done that thou wishest 
to destroy thy friend, thy worshipper? thou of irre- 
sistible power, declare it to me, so that I may quickly 
bend in adoration and come unto thee. 

" O Varuna! deliver us from the sins of our fathers. 
Deliver us from the sins committed in our persons. 
royal Varuna! deliver Vasishtha, like a calf from its 
tether, like a thief who has feasted on a stolen animal. 

" Varuna! all this sin is not wilfully committed 
by us. Error or wine, anger or dice, or even thought- 
lessness, has begotten sin. Even an elder brother leads 
his younger astray; sin is begotten even in our dreams. 

" Freed from sin, I will faithfully serve, as a slave, 
the Varuna who fulfils our wishes and supports us. We 
are ignorant, may the Arya god bestow on us knowl- 
edge. May the wise deity accept our prayer and bestow 
on us wealth." 

Still more poignant is the entreaty: 

" O King Varuna! may I never go to the earthen 
home! thou of great power! have mercy, have mercy! 


" Varuna with thy weapons! I come trembling 
even like a cloud driven by the wind. O thou of great 
power! have mercy, have mercy! 

" O rich and pure Varuna! I have been driven 
against righteous acts through weakness. thou of 
great power! have mercy, have mercy! 

" Thy worshipper hath thirsted even when living 
in water. O thou of great power! have mercy, have 

" O Varuna! we are mortals. In whatever way 
we have sinned against gods, in whatever manner we 
have through ignorance neglected thy work do not 
destroy us for these sins." 

Despite the sanctity invariably ascribed to Varuna, 
however, he was less popular than Indra, who is pecul- 
iarly Indian and is unknown to other Aryan nations. 
One of the most famous legends about Indra, prob- 
ably the most famous legend in the Aryan world, is 
the myth of his destruction of the demon Vritra, who 
confined the waters and would not let them descend 
until Indra struck the monster with his thunderbolt. 
The captive waters then descended in copious showers, 
rivers rose almost instantaneously, and gods and men 
rejoiced over the changed face of nature. The Maruts, 
or storm-gods, helped Indra in the battle; sky and 
earth trembled at the noise. Vritra long waged an un- 
equal combat, only to fall and die at last the drought 
was over, and the rains began. Many are the hymns 
in the Rig- Veda which recount this conflict, but here we 
have space to cite only one: 


" We sing the heroic deeds which were performed 
by Indra the thunderer. He destroyed Ahi (the cloud- 
serpent) and caused rains to descend and opened out 
the paths for the mountain streams to roll. 

" Indra slew Ahi, who rested on the mountains; 
Tvashtri had made the far-reaching thunderbolt for 
him. Water in torrents flowed towards the sea, as cows 
run eagerly towards their calves. 

" Impetuous as a bull, Indra quaffed the Soma-juiee; 
he drank the Sorna libations offered in the three sac- 


rifices. He then took the thunderbolt and therewith 
slew the eldest of the Ahis. 

" When you killed the eldest of the Ahis, you des- 
troyed the contrivances of the artful contrivers. You 
cleared the sun and the morning and the sky, and left 
no enemies behind. 

" Indra with his all-destructive thunderbolt slew 
the darkling Vritra (cloud) and lopped his limbs. Ahi 
now lies touching the earth like the trunk of a tree 
felled by the axe. 

" The proud Vritra thought that he had no equal j 
and defied the destroyer and conqueror Indra to com- 


bat. But he did not escape destruction, and Indra's foe 
fell, crushing the clouds in his fall. 

" Glad waters are bounding over the prostrate body 
as rivers flow over fallen banks. Vritra when alive had 
withheld the water by his power; Ahi now lies pros- 
trate under that water. 

" The prostrate body lies concealed and nameless 
under ceaseless and restless waters, and the waters 
flow above. Indra's foe sleeps the long sleep." 

It would be easy to multiply such legends, but our 
limits forbid such a course. We will therefore only 
make a passing mention of the legend of the recovery 
of light by Indra after the darkness of night. The rays 
of light are compared to cattle which have been stolen 
by the powers of darkness, and Indra seeks for them 
in vain. He sends his messenger Sarama (probably 
the dawn) after them, and she finds the fortress where 
the Panis, or powers of darkness, have concealed the 
cattle. The Panis try to tempt Sarama, but in vain. 
She returns to Indra, and Indra marches with his 
forces, destroys the fort, and recovers the cattle; dark- 
ness is gone, and the day has dawned. The legend is 
related in its fullest form in the following hymn: 

The Panis say:" O Sarama! why hast thou come 
here? It is a long distance. He who looks back can- 
not come this way. What have we with us for which 
thou hast come? How long hast thou travelled? How 
didst thou cross the Rasa? ' 

Sarama replies:"! come as the messenger of 
Indra. Panis! it is my object to recover the abundant 


cattle which you have hidden. The water has helped 

me; the water felt a fear at my crossing, and thus I 

crossed the Rasa." 

Panis. " What is that Indra like, whose messenger 

thou art and for whom thou hast come from a long 

distance? How does he look? 
(To one another) Let her 
come, we will own her as a 
friend. Let her take and own 
our cows." 

Sarama. " I do not see 
any one who can conquer the 
Indra whose messenger I am 
and for whom I have come 

From a modern Hindu drawing. f rOm a long distance. It is he 

who conquers everybody. The deep rivers cannot re- 
strain his course. Panis! you will surely be slain 
by Indra and will lie down." 

Panis. " beautiful Sarama! thou hast come from 
the farthest ends of the sky; we will give thee without 
any dispute these cows as thou desirest. Who else 
would have given the cattle without a dispute? We 
have many sharp weapons with us." 

Panis. " Sarama! thou hast come here because 
the god threatened thee and sent thee here. We will 
accept thee as a sister; do not return. O beautiful 
Sarama! we will give thee a share of these cows." 

Sarama. " I do not comprehend your words about 
brothers and sisters. Indra and the powerful sons of 
Angiras know all. They sent me here to guard the cattle 


until its recovery. I have come here under their shelter. 
Panis! run away far, far from here." 

Indra is, in fact, the most vigorous of the Vedic 
gods, fond of Soma wine, delighting in war, leading 
his comrades, the Maruts, to fight against drought, lead- 
ing hosts of the Aryans against the black aborigines, 
and helping them to win the most fertile spots along 
the five rivers of the Panjab. The sky and earth gave 
him birth as a cudgel for their enemies, but when the 
child went to his mother Aditi for food, he saw Soma 
wine on her breast and thus drank Soma before he 
drank his mother's milk. 

We now turn to a group of deities who have a more 
distinctly solar character, some of whom are classed 
together under the common name of Adityas, or sons 
of Aditi, the undivided, the unlimited, the eternal. 

There is much confusion in the Rig- Veda as to who 
the Adityas are the sons of this celestial light. Some 
lists name Aryaman, Bhaga, Daksha, Ansa, Varuna, and 
Mitra, while elsewhere the Adityas are said to be seven 
in number, but are not named. We have already seen 
that Indra is called a son of Aditi. Savitri, the sun, 
is often described as an Aditya, and so are Pushan and 
Vishnu, who are also different names of the sun. When, 
in course of time, the year was divided into twelve 
months, the number of the Adityas was fixed at twelve, 
and they became the suns of the twelve months. 

Surya and Savitri are the most common names of 
the sun in the Rig- Veda, and commentators draw a 
distinction between Savitri, the rising or the unrisen 



sun, and Surya, the bright sun of day. The golden rays 
of the sun were naturally compared with arms, until 
a story found its place in Hindu mythology that Savitri 
lost his arm at a sacrifice and that it was replaced by 
a golden arm. 

The only extract we will make from the hymns to 

the sun will be that most 
celebrated of the many 
stanzas in the Rig-Veda, 
the Gayatri, or the morn- 
ing hymn of the later 
Brahmans. It is found 
in the third book and 
runs as follows: 

Tat savitur varenyam 
Bhargo devasya dhimahi 
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat. 

" We meditate on the 
desirable light of the 
divine Savitri who influ- 
ences our pious rites." 

Piishan is the sun as viewed by shepherds in their 
wanderings in quest of fresh pasture-lands, and the 
hymns in his honour are all pastoral in their tone. He 
travels in a chariot yoked with goats, guides men and 
cattle in their travels and migrations, and knows and 
protects the flocks. Vishnu has obtained such a prom- 
inent place as the Supreme Deity in later Hinduism 
that there is a natural reluctance among orthodox mod- 


ern Hindus to accept him in his Vedic character as 
a mere sun-god. Yet such he is in the Rig- Veda, and 
he is a very humble deity in the Vedic pantheon, far 
below Indra or Varuna, Savitri or Agni. It was not 
till the Puranic times, long after the Christian Era, that 
Vishnu was considered a Supreme Deity. In the Veda, 
Vishnu is said to traverse space in three steps, and 


From Moor's Hindu Pantheon. 

is thus to be identified with the sun at dawn, at noon, 
and at sunset. 

Fire was an object of worship in ancient India, 
where sacrificial fire received the highest regard. As 
no sacrifice could be performed without fire, Agni, or 
fire, was called the invoker of the gods. So high was 
the esteem in which fire was held among the gods of 
the Rig- Veda, that when the ancient commentator 
Yaska tried to reduce the number of the Vedic gods 
to three, he named Agni, or fire, as the god of the 
earth, Indra or Vayu as the god of the firmament, and 
the Sun as the god of the sky. 


But Agni is not only the terrestrial fire in the Rig- 
Veda; he is also the fire of the lightning and the sun, 
and his abode is the invisible heaven. The Bhrigus dis- 
covered him there, Matarisvan brought him down, and 

Atharvan and Angiras, the first 
sacrificers, first installed him in 
this world as the protector of 

Vayu, or the air, has re- 
ceived less consideration from 
the Vedic bards, and there are 
but few hymns assigned to 
"him. But the Maruts, or the 
storm-gods, are oftener invoked, probably because they 
inspired more terror; and they are considered as the 
companions of Indra in obtaining rain from the reluctant 
clouds. The earth trembles as they move in their deer- 
yoked chariots, and men see the flashing of their arms 
or the sparkle of their ornaments, the lightning. Yet 
they are benevolent, and they milk from the udder of 
their mother Prisni (the storm-cloud) copious showers 
for the benefit of man. 

Rudra, a storm deity, is the father of the Maruts. 
Like Vishnu, he is a humble deity in the Rig- Veda, 
and only a few hymns are assigned to him. But like 
Vishnu,' Rudra has attained prominence in later times, 
and is one of the Hindu Trinity of the Puranic religion, 
a portion of the Supreme. 

Another god who has also changed his character in 
the Puranas (and very much for the worse!) is Yama, 


the king of the dead. Whatever the original conception 
of Yama may be, there is no doubt that in the Rig- Veda 
he is the king of the departed and the beneficent king 
of the happy world where the virtuous live and enjoy 
themselves in after-life. Clothed in a glorious body, 
they sit by the side of Yama in the realms of light and 
sparkling waters, they enjoy endless felicity there, and 
are adored here below under the name of Pitris, or 
fathers. In the Puranas, on the other hand, Yama, 
later called the child of the Sun, is the stern avenger 
of sin and the god of death and hell. The older con- 
ception of Yama, whom the Rig- Veda regards as the off- 
spring of Vivasvat (the rising sun) and Saranyu (the 
dawn), may be illustrated by the stanzas: 

" Worship Yama, the son of Vivasvat, with offerings. 
All men go to him. He takes men of virtuous deeds 
to the realm of happiness. He clears the way for 

" Yama first discovered the path for us. That path 
will not be destroyed again. All living beings will, 
according to their acts, follow by the path by which 
our forefathers have gone." 

As a more complete allusion to the future life we 
may quote here another passage from a hymn to Soma, 
the juice of a plant made into wine and used as liba- 
tion in sacrifices: 

" flowing Soma! take me to that immortal and 
imperishable abode where light dwells eternal, and 
which is in heaven. Flow, Soma, for Indra. 

" Take me where Yama is king, where there are 


the gates of heaven, and where mighty rivers flow. 
Take me there and make me immortal. Flow, Soma, 
for Indra. 

" Take me where there is the third heaven, where 
there is the third realm of light above the sky, and 
where one can wander at his will. Take me there and 
make me immortal. Flow, Soma, for Indra. 

" Take me where every desire is satiated, where 
Bradhna has his abode, where there is food and con- 
tentment. Take me there and make me immortal. 
Flow, Soma, for Indra. 

" Take me where there are pleasures and joys 
and delights, where every desire of the anxious heart 
is satiated. Take me there and make me immortal. 
Flow, Soma, for Indra." 

In addition to Yama and his twin sister, Yami, 
Vivasvat and Saranyu had another pair of twins, the 
Asvins, who appear in the Rig- Veda as great physi- 
cians, healers of the sick and the wounded, and tending 
many persons with kindness. Long lists of the kind 
acts of the Asvins are given in several hymns, and the 
same cures are spoken of over and over again. On 
their three-wheeled chariot they make the circuit of 
the world day by day and succour men in their distress. 

Brihaspati, or Brahmanaspati, is the lord of hymns, 
brahma in the Rig-Veda meaning hymn. The concep- 
tion of this deity arose in much the same way as the 
conception of the deities Fire and Soma. As there is 
power in the flame and the libation of the sacrifice, 
so there is power in the prayer uttered; and this power 


of prayer is personified in the Vedic god Brahmanas- 

He was a humble god in the Rig- Veda, but in the 
course of centuries the thinkers of the Upanishads con- 
ceived of a Supreme Universal Being and gave him 
the Vedic name Brahma; and when at last Puranic 
Hinduism supplanted Buddhism in India, the Puranic 
thinkers gave the name of Brahma to the Supreme 
Creator of the Universe. 

These are the important gods of the Rig^Veda. Of 
the goddesses there are only two who have any marked 
individuality, Ushas, the dawn, and Sarasvati, the god- 
dess of the river of that name, who afterwards became 
the goddess of flowing speech. 

There is no loveh'er conception in the Rig- Veda than 
that of the dawn. There are no hymns in the Veda 
more truly poetical than those dedicated to her, and 
nothing more charming is to be found in the lyrical 
poetry of any ancient nation, though here we can make 
room for only a single extract: 

" She, the young, the white-robed daughter of the 
sky, the mistress of all earthly treasure, dawns upon 
us, dissipating darkness! Auspicious Ushas! shine 
upon us to-day on this spot. 

" Following the path of mornings that have passed, 
to be followed by endless mornings to come, bright 
Ushas dispels darkness and awakens to life all beings, 
unconscious like the dead in sleep. 

" How long have the Dawns risen? How long will 
the Dawns arise? The present morning pursues those 


that are gone, future mornings will pursue this re- 
splendent Ushas. 

" Mortals who beheld the pristine Ushas have passed 
away; we behold her now; and men will come after 
us who will behold Ushas in the future." 

Sarasvati, as her name implies, is the goddess of 
the river of that name, which was considered holy 
because of the religious rites performed on its banks 
and the sacred hymns uttered there. By a natural de- 
velopment of ideas, she was considered the goddess of 
those hymns, or in other words the goddess of speech, 
in which character she is worshipped now. She is the 
only Vedic goddess whose worship continues in India 
to the present day; all her modern companions, Durga, 
Kali, Lakshmi, and others, are creations of a later day. 

There are no indications in the Eig-Veda of any 
" temples reared by mortal hands " and consecrated as 
places of worship. On the contrary, every householder, 
every patriarch of his family, lighted the sacrificial fire 
in his own home and poured libations of the Soma- 
juice and prayed to the gods for happiness to his fam- 
ily, for abundant crops and wealth and cattle, for im- 
munity from sickness, and for victory over the black 
aborigines. There was no separate priestly caste, and 
men did not retire into forests and subject themselves 
to penances in order to meditate on religion and chant 
these hymns. On the contrary, the old Eishis were 
worldly men, men with considerable property in crops 
and in cattle and surrounded by large families, men 
who in times of danger exchanged the plough for the 

Reciting the Sacred Texts at Benares 

As comparatively feu 1 of the orthodox Hindus arc able to read, they 
are dependent for a knozvlcdge of the sacred texts on the pandits, or 
scholars, who choose suitable spots on the banks of the Ganges and 
there repeat the hallowed words to those that assemble about them to 
listen with devotion to their recitation. 



spear and the sword, and defended against the black 
barbarians those blessings of civilization which they 
solicited from their gods and secured with so much 

But though each householder was himself the priest, 
the warrior, and the cultivator, yet we find evidence 
of kings performing 
rites on a large scale 
by help of men spe- 
cially proficient in 
the chanting of the 
hymns and in other 
religious rites and 
specially engaged 
and paid for the 
purpose. And as we 
go towards the later 
hymns of the Rig- 
Veda, we find this 
class of professional 
priests gaining in 
reputation and in 
wealth, honoured by 


Chiefs and kinffS Copyright by Underwood & Underwood, New York. 

and rewarded by princely gifts of cattle and chariots. 
We find mention of particular families specially pro- 
ficient in the performance of religious rites and cere- 
monies and in the composition of hymns, and it is more 
than probable that the existing hymns of the Rig-Veda 
were composed by members of these families and were 


traditionally learnt by rote and preserved in those fam- 

It is to these and other venerable houses that the 
Aryan world owes the preservation of the most ancient 
compositions of the Aryan race. From century to cen- 
tury the hymns were handed down without break or 
intermission, and the youths of the priestly houses 
spent the prime of their life in learning by rote the 
sacred songs from the lips of their gray-headed sires. 
It was thus that the inestimable treasure, the Rig- Veda, 
was preserved for hundreds of years. 

In course of time the priests boldly grappled with 
the deeper mysteries of nature, they speculated about 
creation and about the future world, and they resolved 
the nature-gods into the Supreme Deity. 

" That all- wise Father saw clearly, and after due 
reflection created the sky and the earth in their watery 
form and touching each other. When their boundaries 
were stretched afar, then the sky and the earth became 

" He who is the Creator of all is great; he creates 
and supports all, he is above all and sees all. He is 
beyond the seat of the seven Rishis. So the wise men 
say, and the wise men obtain fulfilment of all their 

" He who has given us life, he who is the Creator, 
he who knows all the places in this universe he is 
one, although he bears the names of many gods. Other 
beings wish to know of him. 

" You cannot comprehend him who has created all 


this; he is incomprehensible to your mind. People 
make guesses, being shrouded in a mist; they take 
their food for the support of their life and utter hymns 
and wander about. " 

This sublime hymn teaches us in unmistakable 
words that the different Vedic gods are but different 
names of the one incomprehensible Deity. We quote 
another such hymn: 

" At that time what is, was not, and what is not, 
was not. The earth was not, and the far-stretching 
sky was not. What was there that covered? Which 
place was assigned to what object? Did the inviolate 
and deep water exist? 

" At that time death was not, nor immortality; the 
distinction between day and night was not. There was 
only One who lived and breathed without the help of 
air, supported by himself. Nothing was, excepting 

" At first darkness was covered in darkness. All 
was without demarcation; all was of watery form. The 
world that was a void was covered by what did not 
exist and was produced by meditation. 

" Desire arose in the mind, the cause of creation was 
thus produced. Wise men reflect and in their wisdom 
ascertain the birth of what is from what is not. 

" Males with generating seed were produced, and 
powers were also produced. Their rays extended on 
both sides and below and above, a self-supporting prin- 
ciple beneath, an energy aloft. 

"Who knows truly? Who will describe? When 


was all born? Whence were all these created? The 
gods have been made after the creation. Who knows 
whence they were made? 

" Whence all these were created, from whom they 
came, whether any one created them or did not create, 
is known only to Him who lives as Lord in the highest 
place. If He knows not (no one* else knows)/' 

We will quote here one more hymn, which shows 
how the later Rishis soared beyond the conception of 
the nature-gods to the sublime idea of One Deity: 

" In the beginning the Golden Child existed. He 
was the Lord of all from his birth. He placed this 
earth and sky in their respective places. Whom shall 
we worship with offerings? 

" Him who has given life and strength, whose will 
is obeyed by all the gods, whose shadow is immortal- 
ity and whose slave is death. Whom shall we worship 
with offerings? 

" Him who by his power is the sole king of all the 
living beings that see and move; him who is the Lord 
of all bipeds and quadrupeds. Whom shall we wor- 
ship with offerings? 

" Him by whose power these snowy mountains have 
been made, and whose creations are this earth and 
its oceans. Him whose arms are these quarters of 
space. Whom shall we worship with offerings? 

" Him who has fixed in their places this sky and 
this earth; him who has established the heavens and 
the highest heaven; him who has measured the firma- 
ment. Whom shall we worship with offerings? 


" Him by whom the sounding sky and earth have 
been fixed and expanded; him whom the resplendent 
sky and earth own as Almighty; him by whose support 
the sun rises and gains its lustre. Whom shall we wor- 
ship with offerings? 

" Mighty waters pervaded the universe, they held 
in their womb and gave birth to fire. The One Being, 
who is the life of the gods, appeared. Whom shall we 
worship with offerings? 

" He who by his own prowess controlled the waters 
which gave birth to energy, he who is the Lord above 
all gods, he was One. Whom shall we worship with 

" He, the True, who is the creator of this earth, 
who is the creator of the sky, who is the creator of 
the glad and mighty waters may he not do us harm! 
Whom shall we worship with offerings? 

11 Lord of creatures! None but thee has pro- 
duced all these created things. May the object with 
which we worship be fulfilled! May we acquire wealth 
and happiness! ' 

Thus the religion of the Rig- Veda ascends from 
nature up to nature's God. The worshipper appre- 
ciates the glorious phenomena of nature, and rises 
from these phenomena to grasp the mysteries of crea- 
tion and its great Creator. 



WHEN once the Aryan Hindus had reached the 
Sutlaj, they lost but little time in crossing it and 
hastening to the valley of the Ganges, so that, in the 
course of centuries, the entire region as far as the mod- 
ern Tirhut was the seat of powerful kingdoms and na- 
tionalities, who cultivated science and literature in their 
schools and developed new forms of religion and of 
civilization widely different from those of the Vedic 

Among the nations who flourished in the Ganges 
valley and left their names in the epic literature of 
India, the most renowned are the Kurus, who had their 
kingdom near the modern Delhi; the Panchalas, who 
settled farther to the southeast, near the present 
Kanauj; the Kosalas, who occupied the land between 
the Ganges and the Gandak, or Gunduck, which includes 
the modern Oudh; the Videhas, who lived beyond the 
Gandak, in what is now known as Tirhut; and the Kasis, 
who settled about the modern Benares. These were the 
most renowned nations of the second period, though 
other less powerful nationalities also flourished and 
extended their kingdoms from time to time. 


A View of the Ganges 

From early ages the Ganges has been the sacred river of India, and its 
ti'atcrs arc as hallowed as those of the Jordan or the well of Zemsem. 
Such miraculous powers are ascribed to this stream, that, according to 
Hindu tradition, those who die immersed in its i^aters attain hear en ly 


When the Kurus and Panchalas entered the Doab, 
they gave indications of a vigorous national life, and 
their internecine wars form the subject of the first 
National Epic of India, the Mahabharata. And al- 
though this work, in its present shape, is the production 
of a later age, it preserves indications of that rude 
and sturdy vigour and the warlike jealousy which char- 
acterized the early conquerors of the Ganges Valley. 
The Hindus did not, however, live many centuries in 
the soft climate of this valley before declining in prow- 
ess as they gained in learning and civilization. The 
royal courts of the Videhas and the Kasis were learned 
and enlightened, but contemporary literature does not 
bear witness to their warlike qualities. The Kosalas, 
too, were a polished nation, but their traditions, pre- 
served in the second National Epic of India, the Rama- 
yana (in its present form a production of later ages), 
show devotion to social and domestic duties, obedience 
to priests, and regard for religious forms, rather than 
the sturdy valour and the fiery jealousies of the Ma- 

This gradual enervation of the Hindus was the cause 


of most important changes in religious and social 
rules. Eeligion changed its spirit. The hymns with 
which the conquerors of the Pan jab had invoked the 
nature-gods scarcely commended themselves to the more 
effete and more ceremonious Hindus of the Ganges 
valley. The hymns were still repeated, but lost their 
meaning and sense, and ceremonials and observances 
took the place of simple forms. The priestly class in- 



creased in number and in influence, until they formed 
a hereditary caste of their own. The kings and war- 
riors of the valley of the Ganges lived in more splendid 
courts, and had more gorgeous surroundings than the 
warriors of the Panjab, and soon separated themselves 

from the people and formed 
a caste of their own. The 
mass of the people the 
Vaisyas or Visas of the Rig- 
Vedabecame more feeble 
than their forefathers in the 
Panjab, and wore, without 
a protest, the chains which 
priests and warriors the 
Brahmans and the Kshat- 
riy as threw around them. 
'And lastly, the aborigines 
who were subjugated and 
had adopted the Aryan civ- 
ilization formed the low caste of Sudras and were de- 
clared unfit to perform the Aryan religious rites or to 
acquire religious knowledge. 

Such was the origin of the caste system in India, 
in the second period of Hindu history. The system 
arose out of weakness and lifelessness among the peo- 
ple, and, to a certain extent, it has perpetuated that 
weakness ever since. At the close of the period, how- 
ever, there appears to have been a reaction, and the 
Kshatriyas at last tried to prove their equality with 
the Brahmans in learning and religious culture. Wea- 



ried with the rituals and ceremonials prescribed by 
priests, the Kshatriyas started new speculations and 
bold inquiries after the truth. The efforts were unavail- 
ing. The priests remained supreme. But the vigorous 
speculations which the Kshatriyas began are the only 
redeeming portion of the literature of this period and 
form the nucleus of the Hindu philosophical systems 
and religious revolutions of a later day. 

It was in this period of Aryan expansion in the 
Granges valley that the Rig- Veda and the three other 
Vedas Sanaa, Yajur, and Atharva were finally ar- 
ranged and compiled. Then followed another class of 
compositions known as the Brdhmanas, and devoted to 
sacrificial rites. The custom of retirement from the 
world into forest life, which was unknown in the earlier 
ages, then sprang up, and the last portions of the 
Brahmanas are Aranyakas devoted to forest rites. And 
lastly, the bold speculations started by the Kshatriyas 
are known as the Upanishads and form the last por- 
tions of he literature of this period, even as they close 
the so-called Revealed Literature of India formed by 
the Rig- Veda of the previous period and by the Brah- 
manas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, which were writ- 
ten approximately between 1400 and 800 B. c. and 
which form the literature of the Brahmanic age. This 
literature alludes constantly to the deeds of the Kurus, 
the Panchalas, the Kosalas, and the Videhas living in 
the valley of the Ganges, but it was impossible in the 
nature of things that hymns like those of the Rig- 
Veda should be composed after the Hindus had achieved 


the elaborate civilization and adopted the pompous 
religious rites of the Brahmanic and Epic Period. Nat- 
ural phenomena no longer excited the wonder and relig- 
ious admiration of the cultured and somewhat artificial 
Aryans of the Ganges valley engaged in solemn rites 
and elaborate sacrifices. The fervent prayer to the 
rain-god Indra and the loving address to the dawn-god- 
dess Ushas were almost impossible. The very import 
and object of the old simple hymns were forgotten, 
and sacrifices of various descriptions, from simple 
morning and evening libations to elaborate royal sac- 
rifices lasting for many years, formed the essence 
of the later religion. The rules of the sacrifices, the 
import and object of every minute rite, the regulations 
for each insignificant observance these constituted 
the religion of the people, these formed the subjects 
of discussion between learned kings and royal priests, 
these formed the bulk of the Brahmana literature. 

It was during such a period that the hymns of the 
Rig-Veda, written in the previous epoch, were com- 
piled, and the same age saw the redaction of the other 
three Vedas known as the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-Veda 
(White and Black), and the Atharva-Veda. The rea- 
sons which led to the compilation of the Sama-Veda 
and the Yajur-Veda have been ascertained with a fair 
degree of certainty. We find mentioned in the hymns 
of the Rig- Veda different classes of priests who per- 
formed different duties at sacrifices. The Adhvaryus 
were entrusted with the material performance of sac- 
rifice. They measured the ground, built the altar, pre- 



pared the sacrificial vessels, fetched wood and water, 
and immolated animals. The Udgatris, on the other 
hand, were entrusted with the duty of singing, as ac- 
cording to ancient custom some parts of the sacrifice 
had to be accompanied by songs. The Hotris had to 

i i 


recite hymns. And lastly, the Brahmans presided at 
sacrifices over all the rest. 

Of these four classes of priests, neither the Brah- 
man nor the Hotri required any special manual. The 
Brahman was required to know the entire ceremonial, 
to be able to superintend the performance of the sacri- 



fice, to advise the other priests on doubtful points, and 
to correct their mistakes. The Hotri had simply to 
recite, and if he knew the hymns of the Eig-Veda, 
he did not require any separate compilation. But the 
duties of the Adhvaryu and the Udgatri required spe- 
cial training. Special sacrificial formulas must have 


existed for the former, and a stock of the Rig- Veda 
hymns, set to music, must also have existed for the 
latter in the Vedic Period, for we find the names Yajur 
and Sama in the Rig- Veda hymns. These formulas 
and chants were, however, separately collected and com- 
piled at a later age, and these separate compilations, 
in their final form, are the Yajur- Veda and the Sama- 
Veda as we now have them. 


All the verses of the latter Veda, with the exception 
of a few, are to be found in the Kig-Veda, and it is 
supposed that these verses, too, must have been con- 
tained in some other recension of the Rig- Veda now 
lost to us. It is clear, therefore, that the Sanaa- Veda 
is only a selection from the Eig-Veda set to music for 
a special purpose. 

Of the actual compilers of the Yajur-Veda, on the 
other hand, we have some information. The more 
ancient, or Black, Yajur-Veda is called the Taittiriya 
Samhita, from Tittiri, who probably compiled or pro- 
mulgated it in its present shape, although in the Anu- 
kramani of the Atreya recension of this Veda we are 
told that it was handed down by Vaisampayana to 
Yaska Paingi, by Yaska to Tittiri, by Tittiri to Ukha, 
and by Ukha to Atreya, which would imply that the 
existing oldest recension of the Yajur-Veda was not the 
first redaction. 

We have fuller information with regard to the more 
recent White Yajur-Veda. It is called the Vaja- 
saneyi Samhita, from Yajnavalkya Vajasaneya, who 
held the influential position of chief priest in the court 
of Janaka, king of the Videhas, so that the promulga- 
tion of this new Veda probably proceeded from his 
royal master's court. 

There is a striking difference in arrangement be- 
tween the White Yajur-Veda and the Black Yajur- 
Veda. In the latter, the sacrificial formulas are fol- 
lowed by dogmatic explanations, and by accounts of 
ceremonials belonging to them. In the former, the 


formulas are found only in the Samhita, the explanation 
and the ritual being assigned to the Brahmana. It is 
not improbable, as has been supposed, that it was to 
improve the old arrangement and to separate the 
exegetic matter from the formulas, that Yajnavalkya 
founded the new school known as the Vajasaneyins, and 
that their labours resulted in a new (Vajasaneyi) Sam- 
hita and an entirely separate (Satapatha) Brahmana. 

But although the promulgation of the White Yajur- 
Veda is ascribed to Yajnavalkya, a glance at its con- 
tents will show that it is not the compilation of any 
one man or even of one age. Of its forty chapters only 
the first eighteen are cited in full and explained in due 
order in the first nine books of the Satapatha Brah- 
mana, and it is 'the formulas of these eighteen chapters 
alone which are found in the older Black Yajur-Veda. 
These chapters are, therefore, the oldest portion of the 
White Yajur-Veda, and may have been compiled or 
promulgated by Yajnavalkya Vajasaneya. The next 
seven chapters are probably a later addition, while the 
remaining fifteen chapters are undoubtedly a still later 
accretion, and are expressly called Parisishta or Khila 
(" supplement "). 

Of the Atharva-Veda, we need only state that it was 
not generally recognized as a Veda till long after the 
period of which we are speaking, though a class of lit- 
erature known as the Atharvangiras was growing up 
during the Brahmanic Period, and is alluded to in the 
later portions of some of the Brahmanas. Throughout 
the first three periods of Hindu history, and even in 


Manu and other metrical codes, three Vedas are gen- 
erally recognized. And although the claims of the 
Atharva were sometimes put forward, still the work 
was not generally recognized as a fourth Veda till long 
after the Christian Era. It is only in the Brahmana 
and Upanishads of the Atharva- Veda itself that we 
find a uniform recognition of this work as a Veda. It 
is divided into twenty books, and contains nearly six 
thousand verses, although a sixth of the collection is 
in prose. Another sixth is taken from the hymns of 
the Eig-Veda, mostly from the tenth book. The nine- 
teenth book is a kind of supplement to the previous 
eighteen, while the twentieth book is made up of ex- 
tracts from the Eig-Veda. 

The Atharva- Veda consists for the most part of 
formulas intended to protect men against the baneful 
influences of divine powers, against diseases, noxious 
animals, and curses of enemies. It knows a host of 
imps and goblins, and offers homage to them to prevent 
them from doing harm. The hymns are supposed to 
bring from the unwilling hands of gods the favours 
that are wanted. Incantations calculated to procure 
long life or wealth or recovery from illness, and invo- 
cations for good luck in journeys, in gambling, and in 
intrigue, fill the work. These hymns resemble similar 
hymns in the last book of the Eig-Veda, except that 
in the Eig-Veda they are apparently additions made at 
the time of the compilation, while in the Atharva-Veda 
they are the natural utterance of the present. 

We must now hasten to an account of the compo- 


sitions called Brahmanas. We have seen that in the 
Black Yajur-Veda the texts are, as a rule, followed 
by their dogmatic explanations. These explanations 
were supposed to elucidate the texts and to explain 
their hidden meanings, and they contain the specu- 
lations of generations of priests. A single discourse 


of this kind was called a Brahmana; and in later 
times collections of such discourses were called Brah- 

The Rig- Veda has two Brahmanas, the Aitareya 
and the Kaushitaki. The composition of the former 
is attributed to Mahidasa Aitareya, son of Itara. In 
the Kaushitaki Brahmana, on the other hand, special 
regard is paid to the sage Kaushitaki, whose authority 


is considered to be final. These two Brahmanas, how- 
ever, seem to be only two recensions of the same work, 
used by the Aitareyins and the Kaushitakins respect- 
ively, and they agree with each other in many respects, 
except that the last ten chapters of the Aitareya are 
not found in the Kaushitaki and probably belong to 
a later age. 

The Sama-Veda has the Tandya, or Panchavinsa, 
Brahmana, the Shadvinsa Brahmana, the Mantra Brah- 
mana, and the better known Chhandogya. 

The Black Yajur-Veda, or Taittiriya Samhita, has 
its Taittiriya Brahmana, and the White Yajur-Veda, 
or Vajasaneyi Samhita, has its voluminous Satapatha 
Brahmana. We have already stated that the Satapatha 
Brahmana is attributed to Yajnavalkya, though it is 
more likely the text-book of the school he founded, 
as he is often quoted in the work. Nor does the work 
belong entirely to one school or to one age. On the 
contrary, both in the case of the White Yajur-Veda 
Samhita and in the case of its Brahmana, there is 
reason to think that the work belongs to different 
periods. The first eighteen chapters of the Samhita 
are the oldest part of the work, and the first nine books 
of the Brahmana, which comment on these eighteen 
chapters, are the oldest part of the Brahmana. The 
remaining five books are later than the first nine. 

The Atharva-Veda has its Gopatha Brahmana, a 
comparatively recent production, the contents of which 
are a medley, derived to a large extent from other 



Next after the Brahmanas come the Aranyakas, 
which may indeed be considered the last portions of 
the Brahmanas. They were so designated because they 
had to be read in the forest, while the Brahmanas were 


for use in sacrifices performed by householders in their 

The Rig- Veda has its Kaushitaki Aranyaka and its 
Aitareya Aranyaka, the latter ascribed to Mahidasa 
Aitareya. The Black Yajur-Veda has its Taittiriya 
Aranyaka, and the last book of the Satapatha Brah- 


mana is called its Aranyaka. The Sama-Veda and the 
Atharva-Veda have no Aranyakas. 

What gives these Aranyakas a special importance, 
however, is that they are the proper repositories of 
those celebrated religious speculations known as the 
Upanishads. The Upanishads that are the best known 
and that are undoubtedly ancient are the Aitareya and 
the Kaushitaki, found in the Aranyakas of those names 
and belonging to the Rig- Veda; the Chhandogya and 
the Talavakara (or Kena), belonging to the Sama-Veda; 
the Vajasaneyi (or Isa) and the Brihadaranyaka, be- 
longing to the White Yajur-Veda; the Taittiriya and 
Katha and Svetasvatara, belonging to the Black Yajur- 
Veda; and the Mundaka and Prasna and Mandukya, be- 
longing to the Atharva-Veda. But when the Upanishads 
had once come to be considered sacred and authorita- 
tive works, new compositions of the class began to be 
added, until the total number reaches two hundred or 
more. Some of the later Upanishads, which are gener- 
ally known as the Atharva Upanishads, are as late as 
the Puranic times, and are sectarian in tendency, in- 
stead of being devoted to an inquiry into the nature of 
Brahma, or the Supreme Spirit, like the old Upanishads. 
Others still were written long subsequent to the Moham- 
medan Conquest of India, and the idea of a universal 
religion which was cherished by the great emperor 
Akbar finds expression in an Upanishad called the 
Allah Upanishad. 

With the ancient Upanishads the Brahmanic Period 
ends. Other classes of works, besides those named 



herein, undoubtedly existed during this epoch, but they 
have now been lost to us or more frequently replaced 
by newer works, so that only a fragment of the vast 
literature of the Brahmanic age has survived to the 
present day. 




r I THE tide of Aryan conquests rolled onward. If the 
J- reader will refer to a map of India, he will find 
that from the banks of the Sutlaj to the banks of the 
Jumna and the* Ganges, there is not a very wide strip 
of country to cross. The Aryans, who had colonized 
the whole of the Paiijab, were not likely to remain 
inactive on the banks of the Sutlaj or of the Sarasvati. 
Already in the Vedic Period bands of enterprising 
colonists had crossed those rivers and explored the 
distant shores of the Jumna and the Ganges, and those 
noble streams, though alluded to in the hymns as on 
the very horizon of the Hindu world, were not un- 
known. In course of time the emigrants to the fertile 
banks of the two rivers must have increased in numb'er, 
until they founded a powerful kingdom of their own 



in the country near the modern Delhi the kingdom 
of the Kurus. 

These colonists were no others than the Bharatas 
renowned in the wars of Sudas, but their kings be- 
longed to the house of Kuru, and hence the tribe went 
by both names, Bharatas and Kurus. From what part 
of the Pan jab the Kurus came, is a question still in- 
volved in obscurity. In the Aitareya Brahmana it is 
stated that the Uttara Kurus and the Uttara Madras 
lived beyond the Himalaya, perhaps in Kashmir, but 
in the epics of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, 
the land of the Uttara Kurus became a mythical coun- 
try, although it is identified with the Ottorakorrha of 
Ptolemy and placed somewhere east of the modern 
Kashgar; but we would place the Uttara Kuru alluded 
to in the Aitareya Brahmana somewhere north of the 
Sub-Himalayan range, i. e. in Kashmir. We assume 
that the colony of the Kurus on the Ganges rose to 
prowess and fame about 1400 B. c. 

When the Hindus had once begun to settle on the 
fertile banks of the Jumna and the Ganges, other 
colonists descended these streams and soon occupied 
the whole of the Doab, the tract of country between 
the two rivers. While we find the Kurus or Bharatas 
occupying the country near the modern Delhi, another 
adventurous tribe, the Panchalas, seized the tract of 
country near the modern Kanouj. The original seat 
of the Panchalas is still less known than that of the 
Kurus, and it has been supposed that they also came 
from the northern hills, like the Kurus. 


The Panchala kingdom probably rose to distinction 
about the same time as the kingdom of the Kurus, and 
the Brahmana literature frequently refers to these 
allied tribes as forming the very centre of the Hindu 
world and as renowned by their valour, their learning, 
and their civilization. Centuries had elapsed since 
the Aryans had first settled on the banks of the Indus, 
and the centuries had done their work in progress 
and civilization. Manners had changed, society had 
become more refined and polished, learning and art 
had made considerable progress. Kings invited wise 
men to their courts, held learned controversies with 
their priests, performed elaborate sacrifices according 
to the rules of the age, led trained armies to the field, 
appointed qualified men to collect taxes and to admin- 
ister justice, and performed all the duties of civilized 
administrators. The relations and friends of the king 
and the warriors of the nation practised archery and 
driving the war-chariot from their early youth, and 
also learned the Vedas and all the sacred lore that was 
handed down from generation to generation. The 
priests multiplied religious rites and observances, pre- 
served the traditional learning of the land, and in- 
structed and helped the people in their religious duties. 
And the people lived in their towns and villages, cher- 
ished the sacrificial fire in their houses, cultivated the 
arts of peace, trained their boys from early youth in 
the Vedas and in their social and religious duties, and 
gradually developed those social customs which in 
India have the force of laws. Women had their legiti- 


mate influence in society and moved without restric- 
tion or restraint. 

Civilization, however, does not necessarily put a 
stop to wars and dissensions; and the only reminis- 
cences we possess of the political history of the Kurus 
and the Panchalas are those of a sanguinary war in 
which many neighbouring tribes took part, and which 
forms the subject of one of the two great epics of India. 
The incidents of the war described in the Mahabharata 
are undoubtedly legendary, but nevertheless the great 
epic is based on the recollections of an actual war of 
the great Bharatas and faithfully describes the manners 
and customs of the ancient Hindus in the Brahmanic 
and Epic Period, as the Hiad describes the manners 
of the ancient Greeks. 

The, capital of the Kurus at the time of which we 
are speaking was the city of Hastinapura, the supposed 
ruins of which have been discovered on the upper 
course of the Ganges, about sixty-five miles to the 
northeast of Delhi. Santanu, the aged King of Hastina- 
pura, died, leaving two sons, Bhishma, who had taken 
a vow of celibacy, and a younger prince, who became 
king. This young prince died in his turn, leaving two 
sons, Dhritarashtra, who was blind, and Pandu, who 
ascended the throne. 

Pandu died, leaving five sons who are the heroes 
of the epic. Dhritarashtra virtually remained king dur- 
ing the minority of the five Pandavas and of his 
own children, while Dhritarashtra 's uncle, Bhishma, re- 
mained the chief councillor and friend of the state. 



The account of the martial training of the young 
Pandavas and the sons of Dhritarashtra throws much 
light on the manners of royal houses. Drona was a 
Brahman and a renowned warrior, for caste had not 
yet completely formed itself, Kshatriyas had not yet 
obtained the monopoly of the use of arms, nor Brah- 
mans of religious learning. He had been insulted by 
his former friend, the King of the Panchalas, and had 


retired in disgust to the court of the Kurus, where he 
educated the princes in the art of war. 

Yudhisthira, the eldest of the Pandavas, never be- 
came much of a warrior, but was versed in the religious 
learning of the age, and is the most righteous char- 
acter in the epic. Bhima, the second, learned to use 
the club, was renowned for his gigantic size and giant 
strength, and is indeed the Ajax of the poem. The third, 
Arjuna, excelled all other princes in the skill of arms 
and aroused the jealousy and hatred of the sons of 


Dhritarashtra, even in their boyhood, Nakula, the 
fourth, learned to tame horses, and Sahadeva, the fifth, 
became proficient in astronomy. Duryodhana, the eldest 
son of Dhritarashtra, was proficient in the use of the 
club and was a rival to Bhima. 

At last the day came for a public exhibition of the 
proficiency which the princes had acquired in the use 
of arms. A spacious area was enclosed. Seats were 
arranged all round for warriors and aged chieftains, 
for ladies and courtiers, while the whole population 
of Kuru-land flocked to see the skill of their young 

There was shooting of arrows at a target and there 
was fighting with swords and bucklers and clubs. Dur- 
yodhana and Bhima soon began to fight in earnest, and 
rushed toward each other like mad elephants. Shouts 
ascended to the sky, and soon the fight threatened to 
have a tragic end, but at last the infuriated young men 
were parted, and peace was restored. 

Then the young Arjuna entered the lists in golden 
mail, with his wondrous bow. His splendid archery 
surprised his most passionate admirers and thrilled the 
heart of his mother with joy, while shouts of admira- 
tion rose from the multitude like the roar of the ocean. 
He played with his sword, which flashed like lightning, 
and also with his sharp-edged quoit, or chakra, and 
never missed his mark. Lastly, he brought down horses 
and deer to the ground by the noose and concluded 
by doing obeisance to his worthy preceptor Drona, 
amidst the ringing cheers of the assembled multitude. 


The dark cloud of jealousy lowered on the brow of 
Dhritarashtra's sons, and soon they brought to the field 
an unknown warrior, Kama, who was a match for 
Arjuna in archery. Kings' sons could fight only with 
their peers, like the knights of old, and Dhritarashtra 
therefore knighted the unknown warrior, or rather 
made him a king on the spot, so that Arjuna might 
have no excuse for declining the fight. To awkward 
questions which were put to him, the haughty Kama 
replied that rivers and warriors knew not of their origin 
and birth their prowess was their genealogy; but the 
Pandavas declined the fight, and Kama retired in 
silence and in rage. 

Drona now demanded the reward of his tuition. 
Like doughty warriors of old, he held revenge to be 
the dearest joy of a warrior, and for his reward he 
asked the help of the Kurus to be revenged on Drupada, 
king of the Panchalas, who had insulted him. The 
demand could not be refused. Drona marched against 
Drupada, conquered him, and wrested from him half 
his kingdom. Drupada swore to be avenged. 

Dark clouds now arose on the horizon of Kuru-land. 
The time had come for Dhritarashtra to name a Yuva- 
raja, or prince who would reign during his old age. The 
claim of Yudhisthira to the throne of his father could 
not be gainsaid, and he was appointed Tuvardja. But 
the proud Duryodhana rebelled against the arrange- 
ment, and the old monarch had to yield, and sent the 
five Pandavas in exile to Varanavata, perhaps the mod- 
ern Barnawa, not far from Delhi, and then the very 



frontier of Hindu settlements. The vengeance of Duryo- 
dhana pursued them there, and the house where the 
Pandavas lived was burnt to ashes. The Pandavas and 
their mother escaped by an underground passage and 
for a long time roamed about disguised as Brahmans. 
Heralds now went from country to country and pro- 
claimed in all lands that the daughter of Drupada, 


king of the Panchalas, was to choose for herself a 
husband among the most skilful warriors of the time. 
The trial was a severe one, for a heavy bow of great 
size must be bent, and an arrow shot through a whirling 
chakra, or quoit, into the eye of a golden fish set high 
on the top of a pole! 

Not only princes and warriors, but multitudes of 
spectators flocked from all parts of the country to 
Kampilya, the capital of the Panchalas. The princes 
thronged the seats, and Brahmans filled the place with 
Vedic hymns. Then appeared Draupadi with the gar- 


land in her hand which she was to offer to the victor 
of the day. By her side stood her brother Dhrishta- 
dyumna, who proclaimed the feat which was to be per- 

Kings rose and tried to bend the bow, one after 
another, but in vain. The proud and skilful Kama 
stepped forth to do the feat, but was prevented. 

A Brahman suddenly rose and drew the bow, shoot- 
ing the arrow through the whirling chakra into the eye 
of the golden fish. A shout of acclamation arose. And 
Draupadi, the Kshatriya princess, threw the garland 
round the neck of the brave Brahman, who led her 
away as his bride. But murmurs of discontent arose 
like the sound of troubled waters from the Kshatriya 
*ranks at this victory of a Brahman, who, technically, 
had no right to the use of arms; and they gathered 
round the bride's father and threatened violence. The 
Pandavas now threw off their disguise, and the victor 
of the day proclaimed himself to be Arjuna, a true-born 

Then follows the strange myth that the Pandavas 
went back to their mother and said that a great prize 
had been won. Their mother, not knowing what the 
prize was, told her sons to share it among them, and 
as a mother's mandate cannot be disregarded, the five 
brothers wedded Draupadi as their wife. The Pan- 
davas now formed an alliance with the powerful king 
of the Panchalas, and forced the blind King Dhritarash- 
tra to divide the Kuru country between his sons and 
the Pandavas. The division, however, was unequal; 



the fertile tract between the Ganges and the Jumna 
was retained by the sons of Dhritarashtra, while the 
uncleared jungle in the west was given to the Panda vas. 
The jungle Khandava Prastha was soon cleared by fire, 
and a new capital called Indraprastha was built, the 
supposed ruins of which are shown to every modern 
visitor to Delhi. The Pandavas, according to the Ma- 
habharata, now undertook various military campaigns 


extending to Bengal and even to Ceylon, but the ac- 
counts of these distant expeditions are thought to be 
later interpolations in the poem. 

Now Yudhishthira, as Yuvaraja, was to celebrate 
the Rajasuya, or coronation ceremony, and all the 
princes of the land, including his kinsmen of Hastina- 
pura, were invited. The place of honour was given to 
Krishna, chief of the Yadavas of Gujarat. Sisupala 
of Chedi violently protested, and Krishna killed him 
on the spot. The tumult finally subsided, however, and 








the consecrated water was sprinkled on the newly 
created monarch, while Brahmans went away laden 
with presents. 

But the newly created king was not long to enjoy 
his realm. .With all his righteousness, Yudhishthira 
had a weakness for gambling like the other chiefs of 
the time, and the unfor- 
giving and jealous Dur- 
yodhana challenged him to 
a game. Kingdom, wealth, 
himself and his brothers, 
and even his wife were 
staked and lost, and the 
five brothers and Draupadi 
became the slaves of Dur- 
yodhana. The proud Drau- 
padi refused to submit to 
her position, but Duhsa- 
sana dragged her to the 
assembly-room by her hair, 
and Duryodhana compelled 
her to sit on his knee in the sight of the stupefied as- 
sembly. The blood of the Pandavas was rising, when 
the old Dhritarashtra was led to the assembly-room and 
stopped a tumult. It was decided that the Pandavas 
had lost their kingdom, but should not be slaves. They 
agreed to go into exile for twelve years, after which 
they should remain concealed for a year. If the sons 
of Dhritarashtra failed to discover .them during the 
year, they would get back their kingdom. 




Thus the Panda vas again went into exile; and after 
twelve years of wanderings in various places, disguised 
themselves in the thirteenth year and took service 
under the King of Virata. Yudhishthira was to teach 

the king gambling; 
B h i m a was the 
head cook; Arjuna 
was to teach danc- 
ing and music to 
the king's daugh- 
ter; Nakula and 
Sahadeva were to 
be master of horse 
and master of cat- 
tle r e s p e ctively, 
and Draupadi was 
to be the queen's 
handmaid. A dif- 
ficulty arose. The 
queen's brother 
was enamoured of 
the new handmaid 
of superb beauty and insulted her and was resolved to 
possess her. Bhima interfered and killed the ruffian 
in secret. 

Cattle-lifting was not uncommon among the princes 
of those days, and the princes of Hastinapura carried 
away some cattle from Virata. Arjuna, the dancing- 
master, could stand this no longer; he put on his ar- 
mour, drove out in chariot, and recovered the cattle, but 

From Oman's Indian Epics. 



was discovered. The question whether the year of 
secret exile had quite expired was never settled. 

And now the Pandavas sent an envoy to Hastina- 
pura to claim back their kingdom. The claim was 
refused, and both parties prepared for a war, the like 
of which had never been seen in India. All the princes 
of note joined one side or the other, and the battle 
which was fought in the plains of Kurukshetra, north 


of Delhi, lasted for eighteen days, ending in fearful 
slaughter and carnage. 

The long story of the battle with its endless episodes 
need not detain us. Arjuna killed the aged Bhishma 
unfairly, after that chief was forced to cease from 
fighting. Drona, with his impenetrable " squares " or 
phalanxes, slew his old rival Drupada, but Drupada 's 
son revenged his father's death and killed Drona un- 
fairly. Bhima met Duhsasana, who had insulted Drau- 
padi in the gambling-room, cut off his head, and in 



fierce vindictiveness drank his blood. Lastly, there was 
the crowning contest between Kama and Arjuna, who 
had hated each other through life; and Arjuna killed 
Kama unfairly when his chariot wheels had sunk in the 
earth and he could not move or fight. On the last or 
eighteenth day, Duryodhana fled from Bhima, but was 
compelled by taunts and rebukes to turn and fight, and 
Bhima by a foul blow (because struck below the waist) 


broke the knee to which Duryodhana had once dragged 
Draupadi. The wounded warrior was left to die, but 
the bloodshed was not yet over, for Drona's son made 
a midnight raid on the enemy's camp, killed Dru- 
pada's son, and finally quenched the ancient feud in 
blood. The Pandavas then went to Hastinapura, and 
Yudhishthira became king. He is said to have sub- 
dued every monarch in Aryan India, and at last cele- 
brated the Asvamedha ceremony, or great horse-sac- 
rifice, by letting loose a horse which wandered for a 



year at will and which no king dared to stop; thus 
betokening the submission of all the surrounding mon- 
archs, since all the land traversed by the consecrated 
steed became the domain of the king who had sent it 

Such is the story of India's great epic divested of 
its numerous legends and episodes, its supernatural 
incidents and digressions; but it is clear, even from 
this brief account, that the first Hindu colonists of the 
Ganges valley had not yet lost the sturdy valour and 
the stubborn warlike determination of the Vedic Age. 
How imperfectly the caste system flourished among 
these sturdy races is shown by many facts which still 
loom out in bold outline amidst the interpolations and 
additions of later writers. Santanu, the ancient king 
of Hastinapura, had a brother Devapi, who was a 
priest; the most learned character in the epic, Yudhish- 
thira, was a Kshatriya; and the most skilful warrior, 
Drona, was a Brahman. 



tide of Aryan conquests rolled onward. When 
the country between the Jumna and the Ganges 
had been completely conquered, peopled, and Hindu- 
ized, new bands of adventurous settlers crossed the 
Ganges and marched further eastward to found new 
colonies and new Hindu kingdoms. Stream after 
stream was crossed, forest after forest was explored 
and cleared, region after region was slowly conquered, 
peopled, and Hinduized in this onward march towards 
the unknown east. The history of the long struggles 
and the gradual development of the Hindu power in 
these regions has been lost to us; and we only see, in 
the literature which has been preserved, the establish- 
ment of powerful and civilized Hindu kingdoms east 
of the Ganges the kingdom of the Kosalas in the 
country now known as Oudh, that of the Videhas in 
North Behar, and that of the Kasis round the modern 

Some recollection of the eastern march of the Vide- 
has has been preserved in a stray passage in the first 

book of the Satapatha Brahmana. 




In legendary form the story is told how King Ma- 
dhava followed the course of the sacred fire from the 


banks of the Sarasvati eastward to the river which 
flows from the northern mountains, or the Himalayas, 
and is called Sadanira, the modern G-andak. That river 
formed the boundary between the two kingdoms; the 


Kosalas lived to the west of it, and the Videhas to 
the east of it. 

In course of years, probably of centuries, the king- 
dom of the Videhas rose in power and in civilization, 
until it became the most prominent kingdom in North- 
ern India, and Janaka, King of the Videhas, is prob- 
ably the most important figure in the history of the 
Brahmanic and Epic Period in India, for he not only 
established his power in the farthest confines of the 
Hindu dominions, but also gathered round him the most 
learned men of his time, entered into discussion with 
them, and instructed them in holy truths about the 
Universal Being. But Janaka has a still higher claim 
to our respect and admiration. While the priestly caste 
was multiplying rituals and supplying dogmatic ex- 
planations for each rite, the royal caste seems to have 
felt some impatience at this course, and learned Kshat- 
riyas, while still conforming to the rites laid down by 
priests, began to inquire about the destination of the 
soul and the nature of the Supreme Being. So bold, 
so healthy, and so vigorous were these new and earnest 
speculations, that the priestly classes at last felt their 
inferiority and came to Kshatriyas to learn something 
of the wisdom of the new school. The Upanishads 
contain these speculations of the warrior caste, and 
King Janaka of Videha is honoured and respected more 
than any other king of the time as one of those who 
inspired the Upanishads, the culmination, in many 
ways, of the philosophy of India. 

These are real claims of Janaka, King of the Vide- 



has, to the admiration and gratitude of posterity, but, 
curiously enough, posterity remembers him, as well 


as the Videhas and the Kosalas, rather through a myth 
which has become associated with their names, and 
relates to the Aryan conquest of Southern India, the 
Eamayana, the second great epic of India, being devoted 


to the conquest of Ceylon by a king of the Kosalas who 
had married the daughter of Janaka, King of the Vide- 
has. This poem, like the Mahabharata, is utterly value- 
less as a narrative of historical events and incidents. 
In both the heroes are myths pure and simple. 

Sita, the field furrow, had received divine honours 
from the tune of the Rig- Veda and had been wor- 
shipped as a goddess. When cultivation gradually 
spread in Southern India, it was not difficult to invent 
a poetical myth that Sita was carried to the south. 
And when this goddess and woman had acquired a dis- 
tinct and lovely individuality, she was naturally de- 
scribed as the daughter of the holiest and most learned 
king on record, Janaka of the Videhas. 

But who is Rama, described in the epic as Sita's 
husband and the King of the Kosalas? The later Pu- 
ranas tell us that he was an incarnation of Vishnu, 
but Vishnu himself had not risen to prominence at 
the time of which we are speaking. Indra was still the 
chief of the gods of the Brahmanic and Epic Period, 
and in the Sutra literature we learn that Sita, the fur- 
row goddess, is the wife of Indra; it seems, therefore, 
that Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, is, in his original 
conception, only a new form of Indra battling with the 
demons of drought. Myth is thus mixed with the epic 
which describes the historic conquest of Southern India. 

But though the Ramayana is utterly valueless as 
a narrative of events, still, like the Mahabharata, it 
throws side-lights on the state of ancient society in 
India, and the story of the epic therefore needs to be 


briefly told. In the Ramayana we miss the fiery valour 
and the proud self-assertion of the Kshatriyas of the 
Mahabharata, and the subordination of the people to 
the priestly caste is more complete. Janaka himself 
is not described as the proud assertor of Kshatriya 
learning and dignity that he was, but as a humble 
servant of priests, and Kama himself, the hero of the 
epic, though he encounters and defeats a Brahman 
warrior, Parasurama, does so with many apologies and 
due submission! The story of Parasurama probably 
conceals a great historic truth. He is said to have 
fought against the Kshatriyas and exterminated the 
caste; and then he was conquered by the Kshatriya 
Rama, the hero of the epic. It would seem that this 
story indicates the real rivalry and hostilities between 
the priestly and warrior castes, indications of which 
we have found in a literary form in the Upanishads. 

For the rest, one feels on reading the Ramayana 
that the real heroic age of India had passed, and that 
centuries of residence in the valley of the Ganges had 
produced an enervating effect on the Aryans. We miss 
the heroic, if somewhat rude and sturdy, manners and 
incidents which mark the Mahabharata. We miss char- 
acters distinguished by real valour and battles fought 
with real obstinacy and determination. We miss men 
of flesh and blood, of pride and determination, like 
Kama and Duryodhana and Bhima; and the best-de- 
veloped characters in the Ramayana are women like 
the proud and scheming Kaikeyi or the gentle and ever 
suffering Sita. 



The heroes of the Ramayana are somewhat tame 
and commonplace personages, very respectful to priests, 
very anxious to conform to the rules of decorum and 
duty, doing a vast amount of fighting work mechanic- 


ally, but without the determination, the persistence of 
real fighters. A change had come over the spirit of 
the nation; princes and men had become more pol- 
ished and law-abiding, but they had become less sturdy 
and heroic. 



Turning to the story of the Ramayana, we find that 
Dasaratha, a distinguished king of the Kosalas, had 
his capital in Ayodhya, or Oudh, whose ruins are still 
shown to travellers in some shapeless mounds. King 
Dasaratha had 
three queens hon- 
oured above the 
rest, of whom Kau- 
salya bore him his 
eldest son Rama, 
while Kaikeyi was 
the mother of Bha- 
rata, and Sumitra 
of Lakshmana and 
Satrughna. Dasa- 
ratha in his old age 
decided on making 
Rama the Yuva- 
raja, or reigning 
prince, but Kai- 
keyi insisted that 
her son should be Yuvaraja, and the feeble old king 
yielded to the determined will of his wife. 

Before this Rama had won Sita, the daughter of 
Janaka, King of the Videhas, at a svayamvara, or court 
of love, in which the bride chooses her husband. Kings 
and princes had assembled there, but Rama alone could 
lift the heavy bow and bend it till it broke in twain. 
But now, when Ayodhya was still ringing with accla- 
mation at the prospect of Rama's installation as Yuva- 



raja, it was decided in Queen Kaikeyi's chambers that 
Bharata must be the Yuvaraja and that Rama must 
go into exile for fourteen years. 

Rama was too obedient and dutiful to resist or even 
to resent this decision. His faithful half-brother Laksh- 
mana accompanied him, and the gentle Sita would not 
hear of parting from her lord. Amidst the tears and 
lamentations of the people of Ayodhya, Rama and Sita 
and Lakshmana went from Kosala's capital. 

The exiles first found their way to the hermitage 
of Bharadvaja in Prayaga, or Allahabad, and then to 
that of Valmiki in Chitrakuta, somewhere in modern 
Bundelkhand. Valmiki is reputed to be the author of 
the epic Ramayana, just as Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, 
the compiler of the Vedas, is said to be the author of 
the Mahabharata. 

Dasaratha died of grief for Rama. The youthful 
Bharata proceeded at once to Chitrakuta, informed 
Rama of their father's death, and implored him to 
return. But Rama felt himself bound by the promise 
he had made, and it was agreed that he should return 
after fourteen years and then ascend the throne. Bha- 
rata hastened back to Ayodhya, and leaving Chitra- 
kuta, Rama wandered for thirteen years in the Dan- 
daka forest and toward the sources of the Godavari 
among jungles and non-Aryan tribes, for Southern 
India had not yet been colonized by the Aryans. 

Meanwhile Ravana, the monster King of Lanka, or 
Ceylon, and of Southern India, heard of the beauty 
of Sita, who now dwelt in the jungles, and in the 



absence of Rama he stole her away from their hut 

and carried her off to Ceylon. Rama, after a long 

search, obtained a clue of her, made an alliance with the 

non- Aryan tribes of 

Southern India, 

who are described 

as monkeys and 

bears, and made 

preparations for 

crossing over to 

Ceylon to recover 

his wife. 

Vali was a great 
king among the 
non- Aryans, but his 
brother Sugriva 
thirsted after his 
kingdom and his 
wife. Rama fought 
and killed Vali, helped Sugriva to win the kingdom and 
Vali's widow, and Sugriva then marched his army to 

Hanuman, the commander-in-chief of the non- Aryan 
army, led the way. He leaped over the strait of sixty 
miles which separates India from Ceylon, found Sita, 
and returned to Rama. 

A causeway was then built across the strait by 
means of boulders and stones. The reader is aware 
that a natural causeway runs nearly across the strait, 
and there is no doubt that the physical aspect of this 




locality suggested to the poet the idea that the cause- 
way was built by the superhuman labours of Rama's 
army. The whole army then crossed over and laid siege 
to the capital of Ravana. 

The account of the war which follows, though full 
of poetical incidents and stirring description, is un- 
natural and tedious. Chief after chief was sent out by 
Ravana to beat back the invaders, but they all fell 

From Oman's Indian Epics. 

before the supernatural weapons and mystic mantras 
of Rama. Indrajit, the proud son of Ravana, battled 
from the clouds, but Lakshmana killed him. Ravana 
came out in rage and killed Lakshmana, but the dead 
hero revived under the influence of some medicine 
brought by the faithful Hanuman. One of Ravana 's 
brothers, Vibhishana, had left his brother and had 
joined Rama, and told him the secret by which each 


warrior could be killed, and thus chief after chief of 
Ravana's proud host fell. At last Ravana himself 
came out, and was killed by Rama. Sita was recovered, 
but she had to prove her purity by throwing herself 
into a lighted pyre and then coming out of it unin- 

The fourteenth year of exile having now expired, 


Rama and Sita returned to Ayodhya and ascended the 
throne. But the suspicions of the people fell on Sita, 
who had been in Ravana's house and could not, they 
thought, have returned unstained. And Rama, as weak 
as his father had been, obediently exiled his wife. 

Valmiki received her at Chitrakuta, and there her 
two sons, Lava and Kusa, were born. Valmiki com- 



posed the poem of the Ramayana and taught the boys 
to repeat it, and thus years were passed. 

Then Rama decided to celebrate the Asvamedha 
sacrifice, and sent out the horse. The animal came as 
far as Valmiki's hermitage, and the boys playfully 
caught it and detained it. Rama's troops tried in vain 


Reduced from Moor's " Hindu Pantheon." 

to recover the animal. At last Rama himself saw the 
princely boys, but did not know who they were; he 
heard the poem Ramayana chanted by them, and it was 
in a passion of grief and regret that he at last knew 
them and embraced them as his own. 

But there was no joy in store for Sita. The people's 
suspicions could not be allayed, and Rama was too weak 
to act against his people. The earth, which had given 


Sita birth, opened and received its long-suffering child. 
The Vedic conception of Sita, as the field furrow, mani- 
fests itself in the epic in this incident; but to millions 
of Hindus, Sita is a real human character, a pattern 
of female virtue and female self-abnegation. There are 
few Hindu women throughout the length and breadth 
of India to whom the story of Sita is not known, and 
to whom her character is not a model to strive after 
and to imitate. And Rama, too, though scarcely equal to 
Sita in worth of character, has been a pattern to men 
for his truth, his obedience, and his piety. And thus 
the epic has been for the millions of India a means of 
moral education, the value of which can hardly be over- 


From a native paintiner. 



J great river systems of Northern India deter- 
niined the course of Aryan conquests; when we 
survey the course of these rivers, we comprehend the 
history of Aryan conquests during ten centuries. And 
when we have traced the course of the Indus and its 
tributaries, and of the Ganges and the Jumna as far 
as Benares and North Behar, we have seen the whole 
extent of the Indo-Aryan world as it existed at the 
close of the Brahmanic and Epic Period, or about 
1000 B. c. Beyond this wide tract of Hindu kingdoms, 
South Behar, Malwa, and a portion of the Deccan and 
the regions to the south of the Rajputana desert formed 
a wide semicircular belt of country, as yet not Hindu- 
ized, but becoming gradually known to the Hindus and 
therefore finding occasional mention in the latest works 
of the Brahmana literature. We can imagine hardy 
colonists penetrating into this encircling belt of un- 
known and uncivilized regions, obtaining a mastery 



over the aborigines wherever they went, establishing 
some isolated settlements on the banks of fertile rivers, 
and presenting to the astonished barbarians some of 
the results of civilized administration and civilized life. 
We can also imagine saintly anchorites retiring into 
these wild jungles and fringing the tops of hills or 
fertile valleys with their holy hermitages, which were 
the seats of learning and of sanctity. And lastly, ad- 
venturous royal huntsmen not infrequently penetrated 
into these jungles, and unhappy princes exiled by their 
more powerful rivals often chose to retire from the 
world and take up their abode in these solitudes. 

There is a passage in the last book of the Aitareya 
Brahmana which, along with an account of the prin- 
cipal Hindu kingdoms of the time, makes some mention 
of aboriginal races in the south and southwest, and the 
passage deserves to be quoted: 

" The Yasavas then inaugurated him (Indra) in the 
eastern direction during thirty-one days by these three 
Rig verses, the Yajur verse, and the great words 
(' earth, ether, sky '), for the sake of obtaining uni- 
versal sovereignty. Hence all kings of eastern nations 
are inaugurated to universal sovereignty and called 
Samraj (' universal sovereign ') after this precedent 
made by the gods. 

" Then the Eudras inaugurated Indra in the south- 
ern region during thirty-one days, with the three Rig 
verses, the Yajur, and the great words, for obtain- 
ing enjoyment of pleasures. Hence all kings of living 
creatures in the southern region are inaugurated for the 


enjoyment of pleasures and called Bhoja (' the en- 
joy er ') 

" Then the divine Adityas inaugurated him in the 
western region during thirty-one days, with those three 
Rig verses, that Yajur verse, and those great words 
for obtaining independent rule. Hence all kings of the 
Mchyas and Apachyas in the western countries are 
inaugurated to independent rule and called ' indepen- 
dent rulers/ 

" Then the Visvedevas inaugurated him during 
thirty-one days in the northern region by those three 
Rig verses, that Yajur verse, and those great words, 
for distinguished rule. Hence all people living in north- 
ern countries beyond the Himalaya, such as the Uttara 
Kurus and Uttara Madras, are inaugurated for living 
without a king and called Viraj (' without a king '). 

" Then the divine Sadhyas and Aptyas inaugurated 
Indra during thirty-one days in the middle region, 
which is a firmly established footing (' the immovable 
centre ') to the kingship. Hence the kings of the Kuru 
Panchalas, with the Vasas and Usinaras, are inaugu- 
rated to kingship and called l kings.' 

This passage shows us at a glance the whole of the 
Hindu world as it existed at the close of the Epic 
Period. To the farthest east lived the Videhas and the 
Kasis and the Kosalas, as we have seen before, and 
those newest and youngest of the Hindu colonists ex- 
celled in learning and reputation their elder brethren 
in the west. 

In the south, some bands of Aryan settlers must 



have worked their way up the valley of the Chambal 
and become acquainted with the aboriginal tribes in- 
habiting the country now known as Malwa. We note, 
however, that the kingdoms in this direction were 
already called Bhoja, which was in later times the name 
of the same region, lying immediately to the north of 
the Vindhya chain and along the valley of the Chambal. 
Westwards from this place surged the waves of 


Aryan settlers or adventurers, until the invaders came 
to the shores of the Arabian Sea and could proceed 
no farther. The aboriginal tribes in these distant tracts 
were regarded with contempt by the civilized colonists 
or invaders, yet these races, dimly known at the very 
close of the Epic Period, were the ancestors of the 
proudest and most warlike Hindu tribe of later times, 
the Maharattas. 

To the north the Uttara Kurus and the Uttara 
Madras and other tribes seem to have lived in the val- 


leys of the Himalayas. To the present day men in 
these hills live in independent primitive communities, 
and have very little concern with chief or king, and 
it is no wonder that in ancient times they should be 
known as peoples without kings. 

And then, in the very centre of the Hindu world, 
along the valley of the Ganges, lived the powerful tribes 
of the Kurus and the Panchalas, and the less known 
tribes, the Vasas and the Usinaras. 

In the west, the deserts of Rajputana were wholly 
unexplored by the Aryans, and the Bhil aborigines of 
those deserts and mountains were left undisturbed until 
new and hardy tribes of invaders entered India after 
the Christian era. 

In the far east, South Behar was not yet Hinduized. 
A passage in the Atharva-Veda which shows that the 
people of South Behar did not yet belong to the Hindu 
confederation alludes in terms of enmity to the Angas 
and the Magadhas. Bengal proper was as yet unknown. 

The whole of India south of the Vindhya range was 
as yet unoccupied by the Hindus, but the Aitareya 
Brahmana gives the names of certain degraded bar- 
barous tribes, including the Andhras, who in the Philo- 
sophic Period rose to be a great civilized Hindu power 
in the Deccan. 

We have now spoken of all the principal Aryan 
races and kingdoms which flourished in the Epic Period, 
and of the non- Aryan kingdoms, which formed a semi- 
circular belt in the south of the Hindu world. But 
before we take leave of kings, we must make some 



mention of the great coronation ceremony, as described 
in the Aitareya Brahmana: 

" He spreads the tiger-skin on the throne in such 
a manner that the hairs come outside and that part 


which covered the neck is turned eastward. The king, 
when taking his seat on the throne, approaches it from 
behind, turning his face eastwards, kneels down with 
crossed legs, so that his right knee touches the earth, 
and taking hold of the throne with his hands, prays 
over it an appropriate mantra. 


" The priest then pours the holy water over the 
king's head and repeats the following: ' With these 
waters, which are happy, which cure everything, and 
increase the royal power, the immortal Prajapati sprin- 
kled Indra, Soma sprinkled the royal Varuna, and 
Yama sprinkled Manu; with the same sprinkle I thee! 
Be the ruler over kings in this world! ' And the cere- 
mony concludes with a drink of the Soma wine which 
the priest gives to the king." 

We are then told that with this ceremony priests 
invested a number of kings whose names are already 
known to us. Tura, the son of Kavasha, thus inaugu- 
rated Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit. " Thence 
Janamejaya went everywhere, conquering the earth up 
to its ends, and sacrificed the sacrificial horse." Par- 
vata and Narada thus invested Yudhamsraushti, the 
son of Ugrasena. Vasishtha invested Sudas, the great 
conqueror of the Rig- Veda hymns; and Dirghatamas 
invested Bharata, the son of Duhshanta, with this cere- 
mony. All these allusions have some historic value. 

We have another excellent account of the corona- 
tion rite in the White Yajur-Veda, from which we 
quote a remarkable passage in which the priest blesses 
the newly crowned king: " May God who rules the 
world bestow on you the power to rule your subjects. 
May fire, worshipped by householders, bestow on you 
supremacy over the householders. May Soma, the lord 
of trees, bestow on you supremacy over forests. May 
Brihaspati, the god of speech, bestow on you supremacy 
in speech. May Indra, the highest among gods, bestow 


on you the highest supremacy. May Rudra, the cher- 
isher of animals, bestow on you supremacy over ani- 
mals. May Mitra, who is truth, make you supreme in 
truth. May Varuna, who cherishes holy works, make 
you supreme in holy acts." 

And in the same Veda is found the sum total of all 
kingly ethics and kingly duty in the noble verse: 

" If thou shalt be a ruler, then from this day judge 
the strong and the weak with equal justice, resolve on 
doing good continually to the people, and protect the 
country from all calamities." 



FOUR or five centuries of peaceful residence in a 
genial climate in the fertile basin of the Ganges 
and the Jumna enabled the Hindus to found civilized 
kingdoms, to cultivate philosophy, science, and arts, 
and to develop their religious and social institutions; 
but it was under the same gentle but enervating in- 
fluences that they divided themselves into those sep- 
arate social classes known as " castes." 

We have seen that about the close of the Vedic 
Period the priests had already formed themselves into 
a separate profession, and sons stepped forward to take 
up the duties of their fathers. When religious rites 
became more elaborate in the Brahmanic and Epic 
Period, when with the founding of new kingdoms along 
the fertile Doab kings prided themselves on the per- 
formance of vast sacrifices with endless rites and ob- 
servances, it is easy to understand that the priests 
who alone could undertake such complicated rites rose 
in the estimation of the people, until they were natu- 
rally regarded as aloof from the ordinary people, as a 
distinct and superior race as a caste. They devoted 


The Monkey Temple at Benares 

This temple, erected in honour of the dread goddess Durga by the 
Queen of Natre in the eighteenth century, derives its name from the 
myriads of monkeys which throng it and live on the offerings of food 
given them by those u'ho visit the shrine. 


their lifetime to learning these rites, they alone were 
able to perform them in all their details, and the 
natural inference in the popular mind was that they 
alone were worthy of the holy task. 

The very same causes led to the rise of a royal 
caste. Royalty had not assumed a very high dignity 
among the Pan jab Hindus. Warlike chiefs led clans 
from conquests to conquests, and the greatest of them 
were regarded rather as leaders of men and protectors 
of clans than as mighty kings. Far different was the 
state of things with the Hindus along the Ganges. Prob- 
ably in the early days of the martial Kurus and Pan- 
chalas caste distinctions had not yet been fully matured. 
But later, the kings of the peaceful Kosalas and Videhas, 
surrounded by all the pomp and circumstance of roy- 
alty, were looked upon by the humble and lowly people 
as more than human. 

Although the simple origin of caste was obscured 
in later Hindu literature by strange myths and legends, 
later Hindu writers never completely lost sight of the 
fact that it was originally only a distinction based on 
professions, and this account of its genesis often occurs 
in the same Puranic works which elsewhere delight in 
marvellous legends concerning its beginnings. 

In the Vayu Purana we are told that in the first, 
or Krita, Age there were no castes, and that subse- 
quently Brahma established divisions among men ac- 
cording to their works. " Those who were suited for 
command and prone to deeds of violence, he appointed 
to be Kshatriyas, from their protecting others. Those 


disinterested men who attended upon them, spoke the 
truth, and declared the Veda aright, were Brahmans. 
Those of them who formerly were feeble, engaged in 
the work of husbandmen, tillers of the earth, and 
industrious, were Vaisyas, cultivators and providers of 
subsistence. Those who were cleansers and ran about 
on service, and had little vigour or strength, were 
called Sudras." Accounts more or less similar to this 
occur in the other Puranas as well. 

The Ramayana in its present shape is, as we have 
seen before, the work of later ages. In its closing 
sections we are told that in the Krita Age Brahmans 
alone practised austerities; that in the Treta Age 
Kshatriyas were born, and then was established the 
modern system of four castes. Reduced from mythical 
to historical language, this implies that in the Vedic 
Age the Hindu Aryans were a united body and prac- 
tised Hindu rites, but in the Epic Age priests and 
kings separated themselves as distinct castes, and the 
people also formed themselves into the lower orders, 
the Vaisyas and the Sudras. 

The Mahabharata also is, in its present shape, a 
work of later ages, yet there we read that " red-limbed 
twice-born men who were fond of sensual pleasure, 
fiery, irascible, daring, and forgetful of their sacrificial 
duties, fell into the caste of Kshatriyas. Yellow twice- 
born men, who derived their livelihood from cows and 
agriculture, and did not practise religious perform- 
ances, fell into the caste of Vaisyas. Black twice-born 
men who were impure and addicted to violence and 



lying, and were covetous and subsisted by all kinds of 
works, fell into the caste of Sudras. Being thus sep- 
arated by these their works, the twice-born men be- 
came of different castes. " 

Throughout the Epic Period, and throughout the 


succeeding periods almost to the time of the Moham- 
medan conquest, the great body of the Aryan people 
were Vaisyas, although they followed numerous pro- 
fessions. Along with the Brahmans and the Kshat- 
riyas, they formed the Aryan nation, and were entitled 
to all the rights and privileges and the literary and 
religious heritages of the nation; The conquered abo- 


rigines, who formed the Sudra caste, were alone de- 
barred from the heritage of the Aryans. 

This is the cardinal distinction between the ancient 
caste-system and the caste-system of the present age. 
Caste reserved some privileges for priests, and some 
privileges for warriors, in ancient times; but never 
divided and disunited the Aryan people. Priests and 
warriors and citizens, though following their hereditary 
professions from generation to generation, felt that they 
were one nation and one race, received the same relig- 
ious instructions, attended the same schools of learning, 
possessed the same literature and traditions, ate and 
drank together, intermarried and intermixed in all re- 
spects, and were proud to call themselves the Aryan 

There are numerous passages in the Brahmana lit- 
erature which show that the distinctions between the 
castes were by no means so rigid in the early times as 
at a later period. A remarkable passage, for instance, 
occurs in the Aitareya Brahmana. When a Kshatriya 
eats at a sacrifice the portion assigned for Brahmans, 
his progeny has the characteristics of a Brahman, 
" ready to take gifts, thirsty after drinking Soma, hun- 
gry of eating food, and ready to roam about every- 
where according to pleasure." And " in the second or 
third generation he is capable of entering completely 
into Brahmanship." When he eats the share of Vaisyas, 
his " offspring will be born with the characteristic 
of Yaisyas, paying taxes to another king "; " and in 
the second or third degree they are capable of entering 


the caste of Vaisyas." When he takes the share of 
Sudras, his progeny " will have the characteristics 
of Sudras; they are to serve the three higher castes, 
to be expelled and beaten according to the pleas- 
ure of their masters." And " in the second or third 
degree, he is capable of entering the condition of Su- 

In the same Brahmana we are told of Kavasha, the 
son of Ilusha, whom the other Rishis expelled from 
a sacrificial session, saying, " How should the son of 
a slave girl, a gamester, who is no Brahman, remain 
among us and become initiated! ' But Kavasha knew 
the gods and all the gods knew him, and he was ad- 
mitted as a Rishi. Similarly, in the beautiful legend 
of Satyakama Jabala in the Chhandogya Upanishad, 
is exemplified the fact that truth and learning opened 
out in those days a path to the highest honour and to 
the highest caste. The legend is so beautiful in its 
simplicity and its poetry, that we feel no hesitation 
in quoting a portion of it: 

" Satyakama, the son of Jabala, addressed his 
mother and said: ' 1 wish to become a Brahmachari 
(religious student), mother. Of what family am I? ' 

" She said to him: 1 1 do not know, my child, of 
what family thou art. In my youth, when I had to 
move about much as a servant, I conceived thee. I do 
not know of what family thou art. I am Jabala by 
name, thou art Satyakama; say that thou art Satya- 
kama Jabala.' 

" He, going to Gautama Haridrumata, said to him: 



i I wish to become a Brahmachari with you, sir. May 
I come to you, sir? ' 

" He said to him: ' Of what family are you, my 
friend? ' He replied: ' I do not know, sir, of what 
family I am. I asked my mother, and she answered, 
" In my youth, when I had to move about much as a 


servant, I conceived thee. I do not know of what 
family thou art. ' I am Jabala by name, thou art Satya- 
kama." I am therefore Satyakama Jabala, sir.' 

" He said to him: ' No one but a true Brahman 
would thus speak out. Go and fetch fuel, friend; I 
shall initiate you. You have not swerved from the 
truth.' " 

And this truth-loving young man was initiated, and, 


according to the custom of the times, went out to tend 
his teacher's cattle. In time he learnt the great 
truths which nature, and even the brute creation, 
teach those whose minds are open to instruction. He 
gained wisdom even from the herd that he was tend- 
ing, from the fire that he had lighted, and from a 
flamingo and a diver-bird which flew near him, when 
in the evening he had penned his cows and laid wood 
on the evening fire, and sat behind it. Then the young 
student came back to his teacher, and his teacher said: 
" Friend, you shine like one who knows Brahma: who 
then has taught you? ' " Not men," was the young 
student's reply. And the truth which the young stu- 
dent had learnt, though clothed in the fanciful style 
of the period, was that the four quarters of heaven, 
and the earth, the sky, the ocean, the sun, the moon, 
the lightning, and the fire, and the organs and minds 
of living beings were none other than Brahma, or 

This legend shows that the rules of caste had not 
yet become rigid when such legends were composed. 
We find in the legend that the son of a servant girl, 
who did not know his own father, became a religious 
student simply through his love of truth, learnt the 
lessons which nature and the learned men of the time 
could teach him, and subsequently became classed 
among the wisest religious teachers of the time. Surely 
the caste of that ancient time must have been free- 
dom itself compared to the system of later times, when 
the Kshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Sudra were doomed 


throughout their lives never to rise above the station 
in which they had been born, though they might sink 
to the lowest Pariahs if they disobeyed the laws of 



THE great distinction between the society of Vedic 
times and the society of the Brahmanic and Epic 
Periods was, as we have seen, that caste was unknown 
in the former, and had developed in the latter. But 
this was not the only distinction. Centuries of culture 
and progress had had their influence on society, and 
the Hindus of the period of which we are now speaking 
had attained a high degree of refinement and civiliza- 
tion, and had developed minute rules to regulate their 
domestic and social duties. Royal courts were the 
seats of learning, and sages of all nations were in- 
vited, honoured, and rewarded. Justice was officially 
administered, and law regulated every duty of life. 
Cities were multiplied throughout India, and had their 
judges, their executive officers, and their police. Agri- 
culture was fostered, and the king's officers looked to 
the collection of taxes and the comforts of cultivators. 
To such courts as those of the Videhas, the Kasis, 
and the Kuru-Panchalas learned priests were attached 
for the performance of sacrifices, and also for the 
cultivation of learning; and many of the Brahmanas 



which have been handed down to us were composed 
in the schools which these priests founded. On great 
occasions men of learning came from distant towns 
and villages, and discussions were held not only on 
ritualistic matters, but on such subjects as the human 
soul, the future world, the nature of the gods, and the 
different orders of being, and lastly, on the nature of 
the Universal Being. 

But learning was not confined to royal courts. 
There were Parishads, or Brahmanic establishments for 
the cultivation of learning, to which young men went 
to acquire learning. According to modern writers, a 
Parishad ought to consist of twenty-one Brahmans well 
versed in philosophy, theology, and law; but these 
rules are laid down in later law books, and do not 
describe the character of the Parishads of earlier days, 
when four, or even three, Brahmans in a village, who 
knew the Veda and kept the sacrificial fire, might form 
a Parishad. 

Besides these Parishads, individual teachers often 
gathered round themselves students from various 
parts of the country. These students lived with their 
teachers, served them in a menial capacity during the 
time of their studentship, and, after twelve years or 
more, made suitable presents to their teachers and 
returned to their homes and their relatives. Learned 
Brahmans too, who retired to forests in their old age, 
frequently attracted students, and much of the boldest 
speculation of this period proceeded from these sylvan 
seats of sanctity and learning. 


When students had thus acquired the traditional 
learning of the age either in Parishads or under pri- 
vate teachers, they returned to their homes, married, 
and settled down as householders. With marriage 
began their duties as householders, and the first duty 


of a householder was to light the sacrificial fire under 
an auspicious constellation, to offer libations of milk 
to the fire both morning and evening, to perform other 
religious and domestic rites, and, above all, to offer 
hospitality to strangers. The essence of a Hindu's 
duties are inculcated in passages like the follow- 


" Say what is true! Do thy duty! Do not neglect 
the study of the Veda! After having brought to thy 
teacher the proper reward, do not cut off the lives of 
children! Do not swerve from the truth! Do not 
swerve from duty! Do not neglect what is useful! Do 
not neglect greatness! Do not neglect to teach the 

" Do not neglect the works due to the gods and 
fathers! Let thy mother be to thee like unto a god! 
Let thy father be to thee like unto a god! Let thy 
teacher be to thee like unto a god! Whatever actions 
are blameless, those should be regarded, not others. 
Whatever good works have been performed by us, 
those should be observed by thee." 

Pleasing pictures of a happy state of society are 
presented in many passages which we meet with in 
the literature of the period: " May the Brahmans in 
our kingdom," says the priest at a horse-sacrifice, 
" live in piety; may our warriors be skilled in arms 
and mighty; may our cows yield us profuse milk, our 
bullocks carry their weights, and our horses be swift; 
may our women defend their homes, and our warriors 
be victorious; may our youths be refined in their 
manners. . . . May Parjanya shower rain in every 
home and in every region; may our crops yield grains 
and ripen, and we attain our wishes and live in 

In the Brahmanic age wealth consisted of gold and 
silver and jewels; of chariots; horses, cows, mules, and 
slaves; of houses and fertile fields, and even of ele- 


phants. Many metals besides gold and silver were 
known, as is clear from a passage of the Chhandogya 
Upanishad which describes gold as soldered by means 
of borax, and silver by means of gold, and tin by means 
of silver, and lead by means of tin, and iron by means 


From a painting by Edwin Lord Weeks. Copyright, 1895, by Harper & Brothers. 

of lead, and wood by means of iron, and also by 
means of leather. 

Here and there in the towns and villages were pools 
that collected rain-water to serve the varied needs of 
the people. In these pools they washed their clothes, 
and in their waters they often found relief from the 
oppressive heat of midday. 

As in the Vedic Period, the food of the people 
consisted of various kinds of grain as well as the 
meat of animals. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 


ten kinds of seeds are mentioned, rice and barley, 
sesamum and kidney beans, millet and panic seed, 
wheat, lentils, pulse, and vetches, while the White 
Yajur-Veda also mentions green gram, wild rice, and 

shamalo - grass. Grains 
were ground and sprinkled 
with curds, honey, and 
clarified butter, and made 
into different kinds of 
cake. Milk and its various 
preparations have ever 
been a favourite food in 
A COUNTRY BULLOCK -CART. Animal food was in use 

in the Brahmanic and Epic Period, and the cow and 
the bull were often laid under requisition. The Aitareya 
Brahmana states that an ox or a cow was killed when 
a king or an honoured guest was received; and an hon- 
oured guest is called, even in comparatively modern 
Sanskrit, a cow-killer. 

In the Brahmana of the Black Yajur-Veda, the 
kind and character of the cattle which should be slaugh- 
tered in minor sacrifices, for the gratification of par- 
ticular divinities, are laid down in detail, and the 
same Brahmana lays down instructions for carving, 
while the Gopatha Brahmana tells who received the 
different portions. The priests got the tongue, the 
neck, the shoulder, the rump, and the legs, while the 
master of the house appropriated to himself the sir- 
loin, and his wife had to content herself with the 


pelvis. Plentiful libations of Soma were taken to wash 
down the meat. 

In the Satapatha Brahmana there is an amusing dis- 
cussion as to the propriety of eating the meat of an 
ox or a cow, but the conclusion is not very definite: 
" Let him (the priest) not eat the flesh of the cow and 
the ox." Nevertheless Yajnavalkya said (taking ap- 
parently a very practical view of the matter), " I, for 
one, eat it, provided it is tender," yet he could scarcely 
have contemplated the wonderful effects of vege- 
table and animal diets respectively, as laid down in 
the following passage in the Brihadaranyaka Upani- 

" If a man wishes that a learned daughter should 
be born to him, and that she should live to her full 
age, then after having prepared boiled rice with ses- 
amum and butter they (the husband and wife) should 
both eat, being fit to have offspring. 

" And if a man wishes that a learned son should be 
born to him, famous, a public man, a popular speaker, 
that he should know all the Vedas, and that he should 
live to his full age, then, after having prepared boiled 
rice with meat and butter, they (the husband and wife) 
should both eat, being fit to have offspring. The meat 
should be of a young or of an old bull." 

And now let our readers construct for themselves 
a picture of the social life which the Hindus of the 
Brahmanic and Epic Period the citizens of Hasti- 
napura and Kampilya and Ayodhya and Mithila 
lived three thousand years ago. The towns were sur- 


rounded by walls, beautified by edifices, and laid out 
in streets. The king's palace was always the centre 
of the town, and was frequented by boisterous courtiers 
and a rude soldiery, as well as by holy saints and 
learned priests. The people flocked to the palace on 
every great occasion, loved, respected, and worshipped 
the king, and had no higher faith than loyalty to the 
king. Householders and citizens had their possessions 
and wealth in gold, silver, and jewels; in chariots, 
horses, mules, and slaves; and in the fields surrounding 
the town. They kept the sacred fire in every respect- 
able household, honoured guests, lived according to 
the law of the land, offered sacrifices with the help 
of Brahmans, and honoured knowledge. Every Aryan 
boy was sent to school at an early age. Brahmans and 
Kshatriyas and Vaisyas were educated together, learned 
the same lessons and the same religion, and returned 
home, married, and settled down as householders. 
Priests and soldiers were a portion of the people, 
intermarried with the people, and ate and drank with 
the people. Various classes of manufacturers supplied 
the various wants of a civilized society, and followed 
their ancestral professions from generation to gener- 
ation, but were not cut up into separate castes. Agri- 
culturists lived with their herds and their ploughs in 
their own villages, and, according to the ancient cus- 
tom of India, Hindu village communities managed and 
settled their own village concerns. 

We have seen that the absolute seclusion of women 
was unknown in ancient India. Hindu women held 


an honoured place in society from the dawn of Hindu 
civilization four thousand years ago; they inherited 
and possessed property; they took a share in sacrifices 
and religious duties; they attended great assemblies on 
state occasions; they openly frequented public places; 
they often distinguished themselves in science and in 
the learning of their times; and they even had their 
legitimate influence on politics and administration. 
And although they never mixed so freely in the society 
of men as women do in modern Europe, yet absolute 
seclusion and restraint were not Hindu customs; they 
were unknown in India till the Mohammedan times, 
and are to this day unknown in parts of India like 
the Maharashtra, where the rule of the Moslems was 

Innumerable passages might be quoted from the 
Brahmana literature, showing the high esteem in which 
women were held, but we will content ourselves with 
one or two. The first is the celebrated conversation 
between Yajnavalkya and his learned wife Maitreyi 
on the eve of his retirement to the forest: 

" Now when Yajnavalkya was going to enter upon 
another state, he said: l Maitreyi, verily I am going 
away from this my house. Forsooth let me make a 
settlement between thee and Katyayani.' 

" Maitreyi said: l My lord, if this whole earth full 
of wealth belonged to me, tell me, should I be immortal 
by it? ' ' No,' replied Yajnavalkya; ' like the life of 
rich people will be thy life. But there is no hope of 
immortality by wealth.' 


" And Maitreyi said: ' What should I do with that 
by which I do not become immortal? What my lord 
knoweth of immortality, tell that to me.' 

" Yajnavalkya replied: * Thou who art truly dear to 
me, thou speakest dear words. Come, sit down, I will 
explain it to thee, and mark well what I say.' 

And then he explained the principle which is so 
often and so impressively taught in the Upanishads, 
that the Universal Soul dwells in the husband, in the 
wife, in the sons, and in wealth; in the Brahmans and 
Kshatriyas, and in all the worlds; in the Devas, in all 
living creatures, and in all the universe. Maitreyi re- 
ceived and grasped this great truth, and valued it more 
than the wealth of all the world. 

Our next quotation, which is also from the Brihad- 
aranyaka Upanishad, relates to a great assembly of 
learned men in the court of Janaka, King of the Vide- 

" Janaka Videha sacrificed with a sacrifice at which 
many presents were offered to the priests. Brahmans 
of the Kurus and the Panchalas had come thither, and 
Janaka wished to know which of those Brahmans was 
the best read. So he enclosed a thousand cows, and 
ten padas of gold were fastened to each pair of horns. 

" And Janaka spoke to them: ' Ye venerable Brah- 
mans, he who among you is the wisest, let him drive 
away these cows.' Then those Brahmans durst not, 
but Yajnavalkya said to his pupil, ' Drive them away! ' 
He replied, i glory of the Sama! ' and drove them 



On this the Brahmans became angry, and plied 
Yajnavalkya with questions, but he was a match for 
them all, and the sages, one by one, held their peace. 

There was one in the great assembly who was not 
deficient in the learning and 
the priestly lore of those 
times, and that one was a 
woman, who rose in the open 
assembly, and said: " O 
Yajnavalkya, as the son of 
a warrior from the Kasis or 
Videhas might string his 
loosened bow and take two 
pointed foe-piercing arrows 
in his hand and rise to bat- 
tle, I have risen to fight thee 
with two questions. Answer 
me these questions." The 
questions were put and were 
answered, and Gargi Vacha- 
knavi was silent. 

These passages and many 
others like them show that 
women were honoured in 
ancient India and consid- 
ered the intellectual compan- 
ions of their husbands, their affectionate helpers in the 
journey of life, and the inseparable partners of their 
religious duties. Hindu wives received the honour and 
respect due to their position, in addition to having rights 



to property and to inheritance. In return Hindu wives 
have ever been honourably distinguished for their fidel- 
ity, and feminine unfaithfulness is comparatively rare. 

Early marriage and child-marriage were still un- 
known in the Brahmanic and Epic Periods, and we 
have numerous allusions to the marriage of girls after 
they had reached maturity. Widow-marriage was not 
only not prohibited, but there is distinct sanction for it ; 
and the rites which the widow had to perform before 
she entered into the married state again are distinctly 
laid down. As caste was still a pliable institution, 
men belonging to one caste frequently married widows 
of another, and Brahmans married widows of other 
castes without any scruple. 

Polygamy was allowed among the Hindus as among 
many other ancient nations, but was practically con- 
fined to kings and wealthy lords. Polyandry, we need 
hardly say, was unknown in Aryan India, so that the 
Aitareya Brahmana declares: " For one man has many 
wives, but one wife has not many husbands at the same 

There is in the Satapatha Brahmana a curious pas- 
sage prohibiting marriages among blood-relations to 
the third or fourth generation: " For now kinsfolk 
live sporting and rejoicing together, saying, l in the 
fourth or third generation we unite, 7 " and the rule of 
prohibition became still more strict in later times. 



punishment of criminals and the proper admin- 
-I- istration of laws are foundations on which all civ- 
ilized societies are built, and no nobler concept of the 
law has ever been discovered than that formulated by 
the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad in the words: " Law 
is the power of the kingdom, nor is there aught higher 
than the law. Therefore even a weak man rules a 
stronger with the help of the law as with the help of 
a king. Thus the law is what is called the true. And 
if a man declares what is true, they say he declares the 
law; and if he declares the law, they say he declares 
what is true. Thus both are the same." 

The judicial procedure was still crude, however, and, 
as among other ancient nations, criminals were often 
tried by the ordeal of fire. 

" They bring a man hither whom they have taken 
by the hand, and they say: ' He has taken something, 
he has committed theft.' (When he denies, they say) 
' Heat the hatchet for him. 7 If he committed the theft, 
then he grasps the heated hatchet, he is burnt, and he 
is killed. But if he did not commit the theft, then he 




grasps the heated hatchet, he is not burnt, and he is 
delivered." Murder, theft, drunkenness, and adultery 
were considered the most heinous offences. 

We will now turn to astronomy. The first elemen- 
tary knowledge of the astronomical science is discern- 


ible in the Rig- Veda itself. The year was divided into 
twelve lunar months, and a thirteenth, or intercalary, 
month was added to adjust the lunar with the solar year. 
The six seasons of the year were named Madhu, Mad- 
hava, Sukra, Suchi, Nabha, and Nabhasya, and each was 
sacred to an individual god. The different phases of the 
moon were observed and were personified as deities. 
The position of the moon with regard to the Nakshat- 


ras, or the lunar mansions, is also recognized, and some 
of the constellations of the lunar mansions are named. 
It would appear from this that the Nakshatras were 
observed and named in the Vedic Age, but it was 
in the later period that the lunar zodiac was finally 

As might be expected, considerable progress was 
made in the Brahmanic Period. Astronomy had now 
come to be regarded as a distinct science, and astrono- 
mers by profession were called Nakshatra Darsa and 
Ganaka. The twenty-eight lunar mansions are also 
enumerated in the Black Yajur-Veda, and a second and 
later enumeration occurs in the Atharva Samhita and 
in the Taittiriya Brahmana, while sacrificial rites were 
regulated by the position of the moon with reference 
to these lunar asterisms. 

Besides astronomy, other branches of learning were 
also cultivated in the Brahmanic and Epic Period. Thus 
in the Chhandogya Upanishad we find Narada saying 
to Sanatkumara, " I know the Rig- Veda, sir, the Yajur- 
Veda, the Sanaa- Veda, as the fourth the Atharvana, as 
the fifth the Itihasa Purana, the Veda of the Vedas 
(grammar); the Pitrya (rules for sacrifices for the 
ancestors); the Rasi (the science of numbers); the 
Daiva (the science of portents) ; the Nidhi (the science 
of time); the Vakovakya (logic); the Ekayana (eth- 
ics) ; the Deva Vidya (etymology) ; the Brahma Vidya 
(pronunciation, prosody, and similar subjects); the 
Bhuta Vidya (the science of demons); the Kshatra 
Vidya (the science of weapons); the Nakshatra Vidya 


(astronomy) ; the Sarpa Devanjana Vidya (the science 
of serpents and of genii). All this I know, sir." 

In the Brihadaranyaka we are told that " Rig- 
Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda, Atharvangirasas, Iti- 
hasa (legends), Purana (cosmogonies), Vidya (knowl- 
edge), the Upanishads, Slokas (verses), Sutras (prose 
rules), Anuvyakhyanas (glosses), and Vyakhyanas 
(commentaries) have all been breathed forth from the 
Supreme Being " ; while in the eleventh book of the 
Satapatha Brahmana, we have mention of the three 
Vedas, the Atharvangirasas, the Anusasanas, the Vid- 
yas, the Vakovakya, the Itihasa Purana, the Nara- 
sansis and the Gathas. 

It is true that these names do not necessarily imply 
distinct works which existed in the Epic Period, and 
which have since been lost to us, and many of these 
names merely imply the different subjects which are 
still found in the Brahmanas. It was at a later age, 
in the Philosophic Period, that these different subjects 
which we find interwoven in the Brahmanas and Upan- 
ishads were developed into separate subjects of study, 
and were taught in the separate Sutra works and com- 
positions which have come down to us. At the same 
time, many of these subjects could scarcely have been 
taught properly and handed down from teacher to pupil 
without the help of special works on those subjects. 
We therefore believe that such separate works existed 
in the Epic Period, and have been lost, only to be re- 
placed by more elaborate and scientific works of a later 
age on the same subjects. 




THE main feature which distinguishes the religion 
of the Brahmanic and Epic Period from that of 
the preceding age is the great importance which came 
to be attached to sacrifice. In the earlier portion of the 
Vedic age, men composed hymns in praise of the most 
imposing manifestations of nature; they deified these 
various natural phenomena, and they worshipped these 
deities under the name of Indra or Varuna, of Agni or 
the Maruts. And the worship took the shape of sac- 
rifice, the offering of milk or grain, as well as of ani- 
mals or of libations of Soma-juice to the gods. 

A gradual change, however, is perceptible towards 
the close of the Vedic Age, and in the Brahmanic and 
Epic Age the sacrifice as such, the mere forms and cere- 
monials and offerings, had acquired such an abnormal 
importance that everything else was lost in it. This 
was inevitable when the priests formed a caste. They 
multiplied ceremonials, and attached the utmost impor- 



tance to every minute rite, until both they and the wor- 
shippers almost lost sight of the deities they worshipped 
in the voluminous rites they performed. 

Sacrifices were generally accompanied by gifts of 
cattle, gold, garments, and food, and by the offering of 
animals as victims, and there is a curious passage in 
the Satapatha Brahmana about animal sacrifice, which 
deserves to be quoted: 

" At first the gods offered up a man as a victim. 
When he was offered up, the sacrificial essence went 
out of him. It entered into the horse. They offered 
up the horse. When it was offered, the sacrificial es- 
sence went out of it. It entered into the ox. When 
it was offered up, the sacrificial essence went out of it. 
It entered into the sheep. They offered up the sheep. 
When it was offered up, the sacrificial essence went out 
of it. It entered into the goat. They offered up the 
goat. When it was offered up, the sacrificial essence 
went out of it. It entered into this earth. They 
searched for it by digging. They found it in the shape 
of those two substances, the rice and barley: therefore 
even now they obtain those two by digging; and as 
much efficacy as all those sacrificed animal victims 
would have for him, so much efficacy has this oblation 
for him who knows this." 

If, however, human sacrifice actually prevailed in 
India either before or during the Yedic Period, we 
should certainly have found far more frequent allusions 
to it in the hymns themselves than we find in the later 
Brahmana literature. But in the Rig- Veda we find no 



12 1 


"= - 
""X E 




such allusions, for the story of Sunahsepha is no evi- 
dence of human sacrifice, and there is absolutely nothing 
else in the Kig-Veda which can be so construed. It is 
impossible, on the other hand, to suppose that such a 
custom should have existed and gradually fallen into 
disuse without leaving the slightest trace in the Vedic 


hymns, some of which have come down from a very 
ancient date. 

Where, then, do we find allusions to human sacri- 
fice in the literature of the Brahmanic Period? The 
Sama-Veda is compiled from the Vedic hymns, and of 
course there is no mention of human sacrifice in this 
Veda, nor are there allusions to it in the Black Yajur- 
Veda, or the early portions of the White Yajur-Veda. 
It is in the very latest compositions of the Brahmanic 

Period, in the khila or supplementary portion of the 
White Yajur-Veda, in the Brahmana of the Black Yajur- 
Veda, in the Aitareya Brahmana of the Big-Veda, and 
the last book but one of the Satapatha Brahmana, that 
we have accounts of human sacrifice. Is it possible 
to postulate the existence of a custom in India which 
had passed from the memory of men before the com- 
position and compilation of the Rig-Veda, in the Sama- 
Veda, in the Black or White Yajur-Veda, but which 
suddenly revived after a thousand years in the supple- 
ments and Brahmanas of the Vedas ? Is it not far more 
natural to suppose that all the allusions to human sac- 
rifice in the later compositions of the Epic Period are 
the speculations of priests, just as there are specula- 
tions about the sacrifice of the Supreme Being himself? 
If the priests needed any suggestion, the customs of 
the non- Aryan tribes with whom they became familiar 
in the Epic Period would give them their cue. 

We will now give a brief account of the principal 
sacrifices which were performed in this ancient age, 
especially since we know from the Yajur-Veda what 
these sacrifices were. 

The Darsa-purnamasa was performed on the first 
day after the full and new moon, and Hindus down to 
the present time consider these days as sacred. The 
Pindapitri-yajna was a sacrifice to the departed ances- 
tors and is one of the few ancient sacrifices which are 
performed to this day. The Agnihotra was the daily 
libation of milk to the sacred fire, performed morning 
and evening, and the Chaturmasya was a sacrifice which 


was performed only once every four months. The Agni- 
shtoma was a Soma sacrifice, and the Sautramani was 
originally an expiation for overindulgence in Soma. 
The Rajasuya was the imperial coronation sacrifice 
which was performed by great kings after they had 
established their prowess and fame by conquests, and 
the Asvamedha was the celebrated horse-sacrifice which 
was also performed after great wars and conquests. 
Humbler than these, but far more important for our 
purpose, was the Agnyadhana, or setting up of the sac- 
rificial fires, which had an important bearing on the 
life of every Hindu, and which deserves a few words 
in explanation. 

The monarch Asvapati boasted that in his kingdom 
there was no thief, no miser, no drunkard, no ignorant 
person, no adulterer or adulteress, and " no man with- 
out an altar in his house." In those days, to keep the 
sacred fire in the altar was a duty incumbent on every 
householder, and the breach of this rule was regarded 
as the deepest impiety. The student who had returned 
home from his teacher or his Parishad married in due 
time and then set up the sacrificial fires. This was 
generally done on the first day of the waxing moon, 
but sometimes also at full moon, probably to enable 
the newly married couple to enter on the sacred duties 
as early as possible. The performance of the Agnya- 
dhana, or the establishment of the sacred fires, gen- 
erally required two days. The sacrificer chose his four 
priests, the Brahman, the Hotri, the Adhvaryu, and the 
Agnidhra, and erected two sheds or fire-houses, for the 


Garhapatya and the Ahavaniya fires respectively. A 
circle was marked for the Garhapatya fire, and a square 
for the Ahavaniya; while if a southern, or Dakshinagni, 
fire was required, a semicircular area was marked to 
the south of the space between the other two. 

The Adhvaryu then procured a temporary fire, either 


producing it by friction, or obtaining it from certain 
specified sources in the village, and after the usual five- 
fold lustration of the Garhapatya fireplace, he placed 
the fire upon it. Towards sunset the sacrificer invoked 
the gods and manes. He and his wife then entered 
the Garhapatya house, and the Adhvaryu handed him 


two pieces of wood, the Arani, for the production of the 
Ahavaniya fire on the next morning. The sacrificer and 
his wife laid them on their laps, performed propitiatory 
ceremonies, and remained awake the whole night and 
kept up the fire. In the morning the Adhvaryu ex- 
tinguished the fire, or if there was to be a Dakshinagni, 
he kept it till that fire was kindled. Such, in brief, is 
the ceremony of the Agnyadhana, or the setting up of 
sacrificial fires, which formed an important duty in the 
life of every Hindu householder in ancient days, when 
the gods were worshipped by each man on his hearth, 
and when temples and idols were unknown. 

In ancient ages burial was practised by the Hindus. 
In the Epic Period, however, the custom of burying 
had ceased altogether; the dead were burnt, and the 
ashes were buried. According to the account in the 
White Yajur-Veda, the bones of the dead were collected 
in a vessel and buried in the ground near a stream, and 
a mound was raised as high as the knee and covered 
with grass. The relatives then bathed and changed 
their clothes and left the funeral ground. The same 
ceremony is more fully described in the Aranyaka of 
the Black Yajur-Veda. It is scarcely necessary to add 
that the custom which now prevails among the Hindus 
is simple cremation, without the burial of the ashes, 
and probably began early in the Christian Era. 

Another important rite which deserves some expla- 
nation is the Pindapitri-yajna, or the gift of cakes to 
the departed ancestors. The cakes were offered to Fire 
and to Soma, and the Fathers were invoked to receive 


their shares. Then followed an address to the Fathers 
with reference to the six seasons of the year. The 
worshipper then looked at his wife and said: " Fathers! 
you have made us domestic men we have brought these 
gifts to you according to our power." Then, offering 
a thread or wool or hair, he said: " Fathers! this is 
your apparel, wear it." The wife then ate a cake with 
a desire to have children, and said: " Fathers! let a 
male be born in me in this season. Do you protect 
the son in this womb from all sickness." Departed 
spirits, according to the Hindu religion, receive offer- 
ings from their living descendants, and get none when 
the family is extinct. Hence the extreme fear of Hindus 
of dying without male issue, so that the birth or adop- 
tion of a son is a part of their religion. 

We do not purpose to give an account of the other 
sacrificial rites; what we have already said will convey 
a general idea as to how sacrifices were performed. 
We will now turn to some of the legends of the Brah- 
manas, which are curious and interesting. A most re- 
markable legend is told of Manu, who in the Vedic 
hymns is mentioned as the ancient progenitor of man, 
and who introduced cultivation and worship by fire. The 
legend of Manu in the Satapatha Brahmana gives the 
Hindu version of the story of the Flood. As Manu 
was washing his hands, a fish came unto him and said: 
" Rear me, I will save thee." Manu reared it, and in 
time it told him: " In such and such a year that flood 
will come. Thou shalt then attend to me by preparing 
a ship." The flood came, and Manu entered into the 



ship which he had built in time, and the fish swam up 
to him and carried the ship beyond the northern moun- 
tain. There the ship was fastened to a tree, and as the 
flood subsided, Manu gradually 
descended. " The flood then 
swept away all these creatures, 
and Manu alone remained here." 

The legends relating to the 
creation of the world are also 
interesting. There is a beautiful 
Vedic simile in which the Sun 
pursuing the Dawn is compared 
to a lover pursuing a maiden. 
This gave rise to the legend 
which is found in the Brah- 
manas, that Prajapati, the su- 
preme god, felt a passion for 
his daughter, and this was the 
origin of creation. This legend 
in the Brahmanas was further developed in the Puranas, 
where Brahma is represented as enamoured of his daugh- 
ter, and all these myths arose from a simple metaphor 
in the Rig- Veda about the Sun following the Dawn. 
That such is the origin of the Puranic fables was known 
to Hindu thinkers and commentators, as will appear 
from the following well-known argument of Kumarila, 
the great opponent of Buddhism and the predecessor of 
Sankaracharya : 

"It is fabled that Prajapati, the Lord of Creation, 
did violence to his daughter. But what does it mean? 



Prajapati, the Lord of Creation, is a name of the sun; 
and he is so called because he protects all creatures. 
His daughter Ushas is the dawn. And when it is said 
that he was in love with her, this only means that at 
sunrise the sun runs after the dawn, the dawn being 
at the same time called the daughter of the sun because 
she rises when he approaches. In the same manner it 
is said that Indra was the seducer of Ahalya. This does 
not imply that the god Indra committed such a crime; 
but Indra means the sun, and Ahalya the night; and 
as the night is seduced and ruined by the sun of the 
morning, Indra is called the paramour of Ahalya." 

There is another legend of creation in the Taittiriya 
Brahmana. In the beginning there was nothing except 
water and a lotus leaf standing out of it. Prajapati 
dived in the shape of a boar and brought up some earth 
and spread it out and fastened it down by pebbles. This 
was the earth. 

A similar story is told in the Satapatha Brahmana 
that, after the creation, the gods and demons both 
sprang from Prajapati, and the earth trembled like a 
lotus leaf when the gods and their foes contended for 

Another account of the creation is given in the same 
Brahmana: " Verily in the beginning Prajapati alone 
existed here." He created living beings and birds and 
reptiles and snakes, but they all passed away for want 
of food. He then made the breasts in the fore part of 
their body teem with milk, and so the living creatures 
survived. And thus the world was originally peopled. 

The Golden Temple at Benares. 
From a Photograph. 


While legends and sacrificial rites thus multiplied 
in the Brahmanic Period, religion was still the same 
as in the Vedic Period. The gods of the Rig- Veda were 
still worshipped, and the hymns of the Rig, Sama, or 
Yajur were still uttered as texts, but the veneration 
with which the gods were looked up to in the Vedic 
Period was now merged in the veneration for the sacri- 
ficial ceremonies. 

New gods, however, were slowly finding a place in 
the Hindu pantheon. Arjuna was another name of 
Indra, even in the Satapatha Brahmana. In the White 
Yajur- Veda we find Rudra already assuming his more 
modern Puranic names, and acquiring a more distinct 
individuality, while in the Rig- Veda, as we have already 
seen, Rudra is the father of the storms, and typifies the 
thunder. In the White Yajur- Veda he is also described 
as the thunder-cloud, although his chief aspect is that 
of a god of destruction and the deity of thieves and 
criminals. Among his epithets are Girisha (because 
clouds rest on mountains), Tamra, Aruna, Babhru 
(from the colour of the clouds), Mlakantha, or blue- 
necked (for the same reason), Kapardin, or the long- 
haired, Pasupati, or the nourisher of animals, Sankara, 
or the benefactor, and Siva, or the beneficent. Yet no- 
where in Brahmana literature do we find Rudra repre- 
sented as the Puranic Siva, the consort of Durga or 
Kali. In the Kaushitaki Brahmana we find great im- 
portance attached in one passage to Isana, or Mahadeva, 
and the Satapatha Brahmana contains the remarkable 
passage: " This is thy share, Rudra! Graciously 


accept it, together with thy sister Ambika! ' In a 
celebrated passage in the Mundaka Upanishad, an Upan- 
ishad of the Atharva-Veda, we find Kali, Karali, 
Manojava, Sulohita, Sudhumarvarna, Sphulingini, and 
Visvarupi as the names of the seven tongues of fire. 

Finally, in the Sata- 
patha Brahmana we 
are told of a sacri- 
fice being per- 
formed by Daksha 
Parvati, and in the 
Kena Upanishad we 
find mention of a 
woman named Uma 
Haimavati, who ap- 


peared before Indra 
and explained to Indra the nature of Brahma. These 
are a few specimens of the scattered materials in the 
Brahmana literature, from which the gorgeous Puranic 
legend of Siva and his consort was developed. 

In the Aitareya Brahmana and in the Satapatha 
Brahmana we are told the story of the gods obtaining 
from the Asuras the part of the world which Vishnu 
could stride over or cover, and thus they managed to 
get the whole world. It is in the concluding book of 
this latter Brahmana that Vishnu obtains a sort of 
supremacy among gods, and his head is then struck off 
by Indra. Krishna, the son of Devaki, is not yet a deity; 
he is a pupil of Ghora Angirasa in the Chhandogya 



.While in these scattered allusions we detect mate- 
rials for the construction of the Puranic mythology of 
a later day, we also find in the Brahmanic and Epic 
Period occasional 
traces of that disbelief 
in rites and creeds 
which broke out at a 
later day in the Bud- 
dhist revolution. The 
Tandya Brahmana of 
the Sama-Veda con- 
tains the Vratya-sto- 
mas, by which the Vrat- 
yas, or Aryans not 
living according to the 
Brahmanical system, 
could get admission 
into that community, 
and some of these here- 
tics are thus described: " They drive in open char- 
iots of war, carry bows and lances, wear turbans, 
robes bordered with red and having fluttering ends, 
shoes, and sheepskins folded double; their leaders are 
distinguished by brown robes and silver neck-orna- 
ments; they pursue neither agriculture nor commerce; 
their laws are in a state of confusion; they speak the 
same language as those who have received Brahmanical 
consecration, but nevertheless call what is easily spoken 
hard to pronounce." 




FROM the ritual and legends of the Brahmanas the 
mind of India passed to the more vigorous specu- 
lations of the Upanishads. Some impatience appears 
to have been felt with the elaborate but unmeaning 
rites, the dogmatic but childish explanations, and the 
mystic but grotesque reasoning which fill the volumi- 
nous Brahmanas; and thinking men asked themselves 
if this was all that religion could teach. While still 
conforming to the rites laid down in the older texts, 
they began to speculate on the destination of the Soul 
and on the nature of the Supreme Being, and even after 
the lapse of nearly three thousand years, we must mar- 
vel still at the vigour, the earnestness, and the philos- 
ophy which characterize the Upanishads, whose most 
important doctrines are the universal soul, creation, 
transmigration, and final beatitude. 

We begin with the doctrine of a universal soul, an 
all-pervading Breath, which is the keystone of the phi- 
losophy and thought of the Upanishads. This idea is 
somewhat different from monotheism as it is now under- 
stood, for monotheism generally recognizes a Creator 



as distinct from his creation, but the monotheism of 
the Upanishads, which has been the monotheism of the 
Hindu religion ever since, recognizes God as the Uni- 
versal Being: all things else have emanated from him, 
are a part of him, and will mingle in him, so as to 
have no separate existence. This is the great idea which 
is taught in the Upanishads in a hundred similes, 
stories, and legends, that impart to them their unique 
value in the literature of the world. In this spirit the 
Chhandogya Upanishad declares: 

" All this is Brahma (the Universal Being). Let 
a man meditate on the visible world as beginning, end- 
ing, and breathing in Brahma. 

" His body is spirit, his form is light, his thoughts 
are true, his nature is like ether (omnipresent and in- 
visible), from him all works, all desires, all sweet odours 
and tastes proceed; he it is who embraces all this, who 
never speaks and is never surprised. 

" He is my self within the heart, smaller than a corn 
of rice, smaller than a corn of barley, smaller than a 
mustard seed, smaller than a canary seed or the kernel 
of a canary seed. He also is my self within the heart, 
greater than the earth, greater than the sky, greater 
than heaven, greater than all these worlds. 

" He from whom all works, all desires, all sweet 
odours and tastes proceed, who embraces all this, who 
never speaks and is never surprised, he my self within 
the heart is that Brahma, When I shall have de- 
parted from hence, I shall obtain him." 

Such is the sublime language in which the ancient 


Hindus expressed their sublime conception of the mi- 
nute but all-pervading and Universal Being whom they 
called Brahma, or God. 

In the same Upanishad is told the beautiful story 
of Svetaketu, who stayed with his teacher from his 
twelfth year to his twenty-fourth, and then returned 
home, " having then studied all the Vedas, conceited, 
considering himself well read, and stern." But he had 
yet things to learn which were not ordinarily taught in 
the schools of the age, and his father Uddalaka Aruneya 
taught Til the true nature of the Universal Being in 
such similes as these: 

" As the bees, my son, make honey by collecting the 
juices of distant trees, and reduce the juice into one 
form; and as these juices have no discrimination, so 
that they might say, 1 1 am the juice of this tree or that,' 
in the same manner, my son, all these creatures, when 
they have become merged in the True, know not that 
they are merged in the True. 

" These rivers, my son, run, the eastern (like the 
Ganges) towards the east, the western (like the Indus) 
towards the west. They go from sea to sea (i. e. the 
clouds lift up the water from the sea to the sky and 
send it back as rain to the sea). They become indeed 
sea. And as those rivers, when they are in the sea, do 
not know, ' I am this or that river,' in the same manner, 
my son, all these creatures, proceeding from the True, 
know not that they have proceeded from the True. 

* Place this salt in water and then wait on me in 
the morning.' 


" The son did as he was commanded. The father 
said to him: ' Bring me the salt which you placed in 
the water last night.' The son, having looked for it, 
found it not, for, of course, it was dissolved. 

" The father said: ' Taste it from the surface of the 
water. How is it? ' The son replied: ' It is salt.' 

* Taste it from the middle. How is it? ' The son re- 
plied : * It is salt. ' ' Taste it from the bottom. How 
is it? ' The son replied: * It is salt.' The father said: 

* Throw it away and then wait on me.' 

" The son waited on the father, and the father ex- 
plained to his son that the Universal Being, though 
invisible, dwells in us, as the salt is in the water." 

These extracts from the Chhandogya bring home to 
us the Hindu idea of a Universal Being. We will now 
quote one or two passages from the Kena and the Isa 

11 At whose wish does the mind, sent forth, proceed 
on its errand? " asks the pupil. " At whose command 
does the first breath go forth? At whose wish do we 
utter this speech? What god directs the eye or the 
ear? " 

The teacher replies: "It is the ear of the ear, the 
mind of the mind, the speech of the speech, the breath 
of the breath, and the eye of the eye. 

" That which is not expressed by speech, and by 
which speech is expressed; that which does not think 
by mind, and by which mind is thought; that which 
does not see by the eye, and by which one sees; that 
which does not hear by the ear, and by which the ear 


is heard; that which does not breathe by breath, and 
by which breath is drawn that alone know as Brahma 
not that which people here adore." 

And the joy of him who has comprehended, how- 
ever feebly, the incomprehensible God, has been well 

" He who beholds ah 1 beings in the Self, and Self 
in all beings, he never turns away from it. 

" When, to a man who understands, the Self has 
become all things, what sorrow, what trouble can there 
be to him who once beheld that unity? 

" He, the Self, encircled all, bright, incorporeal, 
scatheless, without muscles, pure, untouched by evil, 
a seer, wise, omnipresent, self-existent, he disposed all 
things aright for eternal years." 

Lastly, in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad we are 
told that all gods are the manifestation of Self, or 
Purusha, " for he is all gods "; and likewise that he 
exists in all men, in the Brahman, the Kshatriya, the 
Vaisya, and the Sudra. 

Our extracts on this subject have been somewhat 
lengthy, but the reader will not regret it. For the 
doctrine of a Universal Soul is the very keystone of 
the Hindu religion, and it is necessary to know how this 
idea was first developed in India in the Upanishads. 
We will now pass on to another important teaching, 
the doctrine of creation. 

The creation of the world was still a mystery to 
those early thinkers, and the attempts to solve it were 
necessarily fanciful. A few passages may be quoted: 



' In the beginning the universe was non-existent. 
It became existent as it grew. It turned into an egg. 


The egg lay for the time of a year. The egg broke open. 
The two halves were one of silver, the other of gold. 

" The silver one became this earth, the golden one 
the sky, the thick membrane (of the white) the moun- 


tains, the thin membrane (of the yolk) the mist with 
the clouds, the small veins the rivers, the fluid the sea. 

" And what was born from it was Aditya, the Sun. 
When he was born shouts of joy arose, and all beings 
arose, and all things which they desired." 

A different account is given in the same Chhandogya 
Upanishad, where we are told that " in the beginning 
there was that only, which is, One only, without a sec- 
ond." And that sent forth fire, and fire sent forth 
water, and the water sent forth the earth. 

The Aitareya Aranyaka describes how Prana, the 
Universal Breath, created the world, and then discusses 
the question of the material cause out of which the 
world was created. As in the Kig-Veda, and as in the 
Biblical account of creation, water is said to be the first 
material cause. 

" Was it water really? Was it water? Yes, all 
this was water indeed. The water was the root, the 
world was the shoot. He (the person) is the father, 
they (earth, fire, and other elements) are the sons." 
And elsewhere in the same Upanishad the following 
account of Creation is given: 

" Verily in the beginning all this was Self one 
only. There was nothing else whatsoever." And that 
Self sent forth the water (above the heaven), the lights 
which are the sky, the mortal which is the earth, and 
the waters under the earth. He then formed the Pu- 
rusha, and the universe was produced from the Pu- 

Some of these extracts clearly recognize an original 


Creator the Breath or the Soul or the Self and also 
a material cause, water or fire. We shall see hereafter 
how this doctrine of a Primal Soul and Primal Matter 
is developed in later Hindu Philosophy. We must now 
turn to the most important doctrine of the transmigra- 
tion of souls. It is to the Hindus what the doctrine of 
Resurrection is to Christians. And while the Chris- 
tians believe that our souls will live in another sphere 
after death, the Hindus believe that our souls have lived 
in other spheres before, and will live again in other 
spheres after death. 

The central idea is that which has been adopted as 
the cardinal principle of the Hindu religion, that good 
acts lead to their rewards in future existences, but only 
true knowledge leads to union with the Universal Spirit. 
" As here on earth whatever has been acquired by 
exertion perishes, so perishes whatever is acquired for 
the next world by sacrifices and other good actions per- 
formed on earth. Those who depart from hence with- 
out having discovered the Self and those true desires, 
for them there is no freedom in all the worlds." 

The doctrine of transmigration of souls is explained 
as follows in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: 

" As a caterpillar, after having reached the end of 
a blade of grass, and after having made another ap- 
proach to another blade, draws itself together towards 
it, thus does the Self, after having thrown off this body 
and dispelled all ignorance, and after making another 
approach to another body, draw itself together to- 
wards it. 


" And as a goldsmith, taking a piece of gold, turns 
it into another newer and more beautiful shape, so does 
the Self, after having thrown off this body and dispelled 


all ignorance, make unto himself another newer and 
more beautiful shape, whether it be like the Fathers, or 
like the Gandharvas, or like the Devas, or like Praja- 
pati, or like Brahma, or like other beings. 

" So much for the man who desires. But as to the 


man who does not desire; who, not desiring, free from 
desires, is satisfied in his desires, or desires the Self 
only, his vital spirits do not depart elsewhere; being 
Brahma, he goes to Brahma. 

" And as the slough of a snake lies on an ant-hill, 
dead and cast away, thus lies the body; but that dis- 
embodied immortal spirit is Brahma only, is only light." 

And this brings us to the doctrine of final beatitude 
and salvation. There is nothing more sublime in the 
literature of the ancient Hindus than the passages in 
which they fervently recorded their hope and faith that 
the disembodied soul, purified from all stains and all 
sins, will at last be received in the Universal Soul, even 
as light mingles with light. We quote another passage 
from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: 

" He, therefore, that knows, after having become 
quiet, subdued, satisfied, patient, and collected, sees self 
in Self, sees all in Self. Evil does not overcome him, 
he overcomes all evil. Evil does not burn him, he burns 
all evil. Free from evil, free from spots, free from 
doubt, he becomes a true Brahman enters the Brahma 

It was this doctrine of final beatitude which Death 
explained to Nachiketas in that beautiful idyl of an 
Upanishad called Katha, and our chapter may find a 
fitting close in an extract from that beautiful creation 
of fancy and of piety. 

Nachiketas was given by his father unto Death and 
entered the abode of Yama Vaivasvata, whom he asked 
for three boons, the last of which was this: 


" There is that doubt, when a man is dead; some 
saying, he is; others, he is not. This I should like to 
know, taught by thee; this is the third of my boons." 

But Death was unwilling to reveal his secrets, and 
told Nachiketas to ask for other boons. 

" Choose sons and grandsons who shall live a hun- 
dred years, herds of cattle, elephants, gold, horses. 
Choose the wide abode of the earth, and live thyself 
as many harvests as thou desirest. 

" If thou canst think of any boon equal to that, 
choose wealth and long life. Be king, Nachiketas, on 
the whole earth. I make thee the enjoy er of all desires. 

" Whatever desires are difficult to attain among mor- 
tals,- ask for them, anything to thy wish; these fair 
maidens with their chariots and musical instruments 
such indeed are not to be obtained by men; be waited 
on by them whom I give thee, but ask not me about 

Nachiketas said: " These things last till to-morrow, 
O Death, for they wear out this vigour of all the senses. 
Even the whole of life is short. Keep thou thy horses, 
keep dance and song for thyself." 

Pressed by the pious inquirer, Death at last revealed 
the great secret, which is the principle of the Upani- 
shads and the principle of the Hindu religion: 

" The sage who, by means of meditation on himself, 
recognizes the Ancient, who is difficult to be seen, who 
has entered into the dark, who has hidden in the cave, 
who dwells in the abyss, as God he indeed leaves joy 
and sorrow far behind. 



. . 

A mortal who has heard this and embraced it, who 
has separated from it all qualities, and has thus reached 
the subtle Being, rejoices because he has obtained what 
is a cause for rejoicing. The house of Brahma is open. 
I believe, Nachiketas! ' 

Who can, even in the pres- 
ent day, peruse these pious 
inquiries and fervent thoughts 
of a long-buried past, without 
feeling a new emotion in his 
heart, without seeing a new 
light before his eyes? The 
mysteries of the unknown fu- 
ture will never be solved by 
human intellect or by human 
science; but the first recorded 
attempts of India to solve 
them in a pious, fervent, phil- 
osophical spirit will ever have an abiding interest for 
every patriotic Hindu and for every thoughtful man. 

By no other has this truth been recognized more fully 
or felt more deeply than by Schopenhauer when he 
wrote: " From every sentence deep, original, and sub- 
lime thoughts arise, and the whole is pervaded by a high 
and holy and earnest spirit. Indian air surrounds us, 
and original thoughts of kindred spirits. In the whole 
world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating 
as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of 
my life; it will be the solace of my death. " 




age of laws, rationalism, and philosophy is, in 

- many respects, the most brilliant epoch of India's 
history, for it was in this period that the Aryans spread 
forth from the valley of the Ganges and established 
Hindu kingdoms with Hindu civilization as far as the 
southernmost boundaries of the peninsula. Magadha, 
or South Behar, already known to the Hindus of the 
Brahmanic period, was now completely Hinduized, and 
the young and powerful kingdom founded there soon 
eclipsed all the ancient realms of the Ganges valley. 
Buddhism spread from Magadha to surrounding do- 
minions, and Aryan colonists penetrated to Bengal 
and introduced Hindu religion and culture among the 
aborigines. The kingdoms established in the south 
won still greater distinction. The Andhras founded 
a powerful dominion in the Deccan and developed 
great schools of learning, while further south the 
Aryans came in contact with the ancient Dravidian 
civilization. The more perfect Hindu culture prevailed, 
and the Dravidians were Hinduized and founded king- 
doms which became distinguished for learning and 



power. The three sister kingdoms of the Cholas, the 
Cheras, and the Pandyas made their mark before the 
third century B. c., and Kanchi (Conjevaram), the cap- 
ital of the Cholas, distinguished itself as the seat of 
Hindu learning at a later day. In the west the Sau- 
rashtras (including Gujarat and the Maharatta coun- 
try) received Hindu civilization; and in this period 


Ceylon was discovered, and formed a great resort of 
Hindu traders. 

The practical and enterprising spirit of the age 
showed itself in literature as well as in territorial 

All learning, all sciences, and all religious teach- 
ings were reduced to concise practical manuals called 
Sutras, whose characteristic is brevity, as verbosity is 
of the Brahmanas. One main reason which led to this 
extreme conciseness was that young Hindu students 
were expected to place themselves under some teacher 


at the early age of eight or ten or twelve, and for 
twelve years or more to remain in their teacher's house, 
doing menial service under him, begging alms for him, 
and learning the ancestral religion by rote. The diffuse 
details of the Brahmanas were therefore compressed 
into short treatises in order that they might be im- 
parted and learnt with ease, and a separate body of 
Sutras was thus composed for each Sutra-charana or 
school. The names of the authors of many of these 
compositions have been handed down to us, and while 
the Vedas and the Brahmanas are declared to be re- 
vealed, no such claim is put forward for the Sutras, 
which are admitted to be human compositions. The so- 
called revealed literature of India closes, therefore, 
with the Upanishads, which form the last portions of 
the Brahmanas. 

When the composition of Sutras had once begun, 
the system spread rapidly all over India, and Sutra 
schools multiplied. The Charanyavyuha names five 
Charanas of the Rig- Veda, twenty-seven of the Black 
Yajur-Veda, fifteen of the White Yajur-Veda, twelve 
of the Sama-Veda, and nine of the Atharva-Veda. A 
vast mass of Sutra literature thus gradually sprang 
up in India, but of the Sutras which must have been 
composed and taught in these numerous Sutra-charanas 
comparatively few have survived. The Sutra literature 
falls into three great classes, dealing respectively with 
religion (Srauta Sutras), law (Dharma Sutras), and 
domestic life (Grihya Sutras). Of these the earliest 
were the Sutras connected with religion and consisting 

u ^Q. ii 

: u ^o u 


RMi: II 

II ^ II 


ITTrft ftrft "5TRT *TrTt rFR 

* H ^M II 




of concise manuals of the details of Vedic sacrifices. 
Two collections of these Srauta Sutras belonging to 
the Big-Veda, called Asvalayana and Sankhayana; 
three belonging to the Sanaa- Veda, and called Masaka, 
Latyayana, and Drahyayana; four belonging to the 
Black Yajur-Veda, and called Baudhayana, Bharadvaja, 
Apastamba, and Hiranyakesin; and one belonging to 
the White Yajur-Veda, and called Katyayana, have 
been left entire. To the general reader the Srauta 
Sutras are but dreary and tedious reading, and we 
therefore turn with pleasure to the Dharma Sutras, 
which present to us the customs and manners and 
laws of the times, and are far more valuable for our 
historical purpose. In the Srauta Sutras we see the 
Hindus as sacrificers; in the Dharma Sutras we see 
them as citizens. But the Dharma Sutras of this an- 
cient period have a deeper claim to our attention, 
because they were modified and put into verse at a 
later age, and transformed into those law-books with 
which modern Hindus are familiar, such as Manu and 
Yajnavalkya. In their original Sutra form (often in 
prose, sometimes in prose and verse, but never in con- 
tinuous verse like the later codes), they were com- 
posed, just as the Srauta Sutras, by the founders 
of the Sutra-charanas, and were learned by rote by 
young Hindus, so that they might, in later life, never 
forget their duties as citizens and as members of so- 

Among the Dharma Sutras which are lost and have 
not yet been recovered, was the Manava Sutra, or Sutra 


of Manu, from which the later metrical Code of Manu 
was compiled, and which was held in high esteem in 
the Sutra Period, just as the metrical Code of Manu 
is honoured at the present day. 

Among the Dharma Sutras still extant, the Vasishtha 
belonging to the Rig- Veda, the Gautama belonging to 
the Sama-Veda, and the Baudhayana and Apastamba 
belonging to the Black Yajur-Veda are accessible in 
English translations. 

In point of time Gautama is the oldest, and we find 
Baudhayana transferring a whole chapter of Gautama's 
into his Sutra, while Vasishtha, in his turn, borrowed 
the same chapter from Baudhayana. 

We have spoken of the Srauta Sutras which treat 
of the duties of a worshipper, and of the Dharma 
Sutras, which define the duties of a citizen. But man 
has other responsibilities beyond those of a worshipper 
and a citizen. As a son, a husband, and a father, he 
has duties to perform towards the members of his 
family. He has rites to perform in connection with 
domestic occurrences, which are quite different from 
the elaborate ceremonials taught in the Srauta Sutras. 
A distinct class of rules was necessary to fix the details 
of the domestic rites, and these regulations are given 
in the Grihya Sutras. 

Much interest attaches to these simple domestic 
rites performed at the domestic fireside, and not at 
the hearths which had to be specially lighted at great 
sacrifices. The domestic fire was kindled by each 
householder on his marriage, and the simple rites, the 


Paka-yajnas, were easily performed. Gautama enumer- 
ates seven Paka sacrifices: Astaka, performed in the 
four winter months; Parvana, at full and new moon; 
Sraddha, or monthly funeral oblations; Sravani, Agra- 
hayani, Chaitri, and Asvayuji, performed on the days 
of full moon in the months from which the rites have 
been named. The account of these rites contained in 
the Grihya Sutras is deeply interesting, because after 
a lapse of over two thousand years the Hindus still 
practise the same rites, sometimes under the same 
name, and often under a different name and in a 
somewhat different way. The Grihya Sutras also con- 
tain accounts of social ceremonies performed at mar- 
riage, at the birth of a child, at his first feeding, at 
his assuming the life of a student, and at other im- 
portant periods in his life, and thus we get a complete 
idea of domestic life among the ancient Hindus from 
these Grihya Sutras. 

The Srauta Sutra, the Dharma Sutra, and the Grihya 
Sutra go collectively under the name of Kalpa Sutra. 
Indeed, each Sutra-charana is supposed to have had a 
complete body of Kalpa Sutra, including the divisions 
mentioned above, but much of what once existed has 
been lost, and we have only fragments of the Sutra 
literature left. The entire Kalpa Sutra of Apastamba 
still exists, and is divided into thirty prasnas or sec- 
tions. The first twenty-four of these treat of Srauta 
sacrifices; the twenty-fifth contains the rules of inter- 
pretation; the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh treat 
of the Grihya rites; the twenty-eighth and twenty- 


ninth contain the Dharma Sutra, and the thirtieth sec- 
tion, the Sulva Sutra, teaches the geometrical principles 
according to which the altars for the sacrifices had to 
be constructed. In addition to the Sutras, ancient 
writers enumerate five other Vedangas, or departments 
of Vedic study, which may be briefly enumerated here. 

Siksha, or Phonetics, is the science of pronunciation, 
and there is reason to believe that rules on the subject 
were formerly embodied in the Aranyakas and even in 
the Brahmanas, but that they have disappeared in con- 
sequence of the appearance of more scientific works on 
the same subject in the Philosophic Period. These 
works are called Pratisakhyas, since they were collec- 
tions of phonetic rules applicable to each Sakha, or 
recension, of each Veda. 

Many of the Pratisakhyas, however, have been lost, 
and only one Pratisakhya for each Veda (except the 
Sama-Veda) has been preserved to us. The Prati- 
sakhya of the Eig-Veda is ascribed to the renowned 
Saunaka. Similarly, a Pratisakhya of the White Yajur- 
Veda is also extant and is ascribed to Katyayana. 
A Pratisakhya of the Black Yajur-Veda and one of the 
Atharva-Veda are also extant, but the names of the 
authors are forgotten. 

Chhandas, or Metre, is mentioned in the Vedas, and 
whole chapters in the Aranyakas and Upanishads are 
devoted to it. But as in the case of Siksha, so in the 
case of Chhandas, we have a clear scientific treat- 
ment of the subject for the first time in the Sutra 


Vyakarana, or Grammar, was a product of this age, 
and the deservedly great fame of Panini, perhaps the 
foremost grammarian of the world, has eclipsed all 
other grammarians of the period. We will not enter 
here into the controversy of the date of this great 
scholar, who is thought by some to have lived in the 
fourth century B. c., but in our own opinion it seems 
not improbable that his date is to be placed before 
the rise of Buddhism. Whatever may be the fact, it is 
acknowledged that his grammatical rules affected the 
entire classical language of the Sanskrit and exercised 
an influence even on the modern science of language, 
which owes its existence to the opening of Sanskrit to 
Europe within little more than a century. Second only 
to Panini in ancient philological work is Yaska in the 
kindred department of etymology (Nirukta). 

The object of Jyotisha, or Astronomy, which should 
likewise be mentioned here, was to give a knowledge 
of the heavenly bodies necessary for fixing the time 
for sacrifices, and to establish a sacred calendar. 

Besides the six Vedangas detailed above, there is 
another class of works called the Anukramani, or In- 
dex to the Vedas, which also belongs to Sutra liter- 
ature. The Anukramani of the Rig- Veda is ascribed 
to Katyayana and gives the first words of each hymn, 
the number of verses, the name of the poet, the metre, 
and the deity; and although there were older Anu- 
kramanis of the Rig-Veda, all have been superseded 
by Katyayana 's fuller work. 

The Yajur-Veda has three Anukramanis, one for 


the Atreya recension of the Black Yajur-Veda, one 
for the recension of the Charakas, and the third for 
the Madhyamdina recension of the White Yajur- 

Of the Sama-Veda we have an ancient index in 
the Arsheya Brahmana, and others among the Parisish- 
tas, or supplementary works; while one of the Atharva- 
Veda exists in manuscript in the British Museum. 

It is appropriate to draw attention, furthermore, 
to a science which belongs to the Age of Philosophy. 
It is the science of geometry, which, like grammar, 
astronomy, and other sciences, owes its origin to 
India, and has its roots in religion, for geometry was 
developed in India from the rules for the construction 
of the altars. It should be remembered that the world 
owes its first lessons in geometry not to Greece, but 
to India, even if the Greeks of a later age cultivated 
the science with greater success than the Hindus. 
The system of decimal notation is also of Indian ori- 
gin, as the Arabs first learned it from the Hindus 
and introduced it into Europe. All science must 
therefore recognize an obligation to India in this 

We have still to refer to the most important 
product of the Hindu mind in this Philosophic and 
Rationalistic Period. The inquiries started at the 
close of the Brahmanic and Epic Period in the Upani- 
shads led to those deeper investigations and profound 
researches which are known as the six schools of Hindu 
Philosophy. The most abstruse problems of matter and 


spirit, of creation and future existence, were consid- 
ered by the Sankhya Philosophy, not as by the Upan- 
ishads in guesses and speculations, but with the strict- 
est method and most relentless logic. Other schools 
of philosophy followed the lead of the Sankhya system, 
and boldly inquired into the mysteries of soul and mind, 
of creation and of the Creator. 

Orthodox Hindus became alarmed at the spread of 
skeptical ideas, and a reaction set in. The result is the 
Vedanta system of philosophy, which re-asserts the 
great doctrines of the Upanishads, and which forms to 
this day the basis of Hindu beliefs and religious con- 
victions. In the meantime, however, a far mightier 
movement than that caused by philosophical opinions 
had been set on foot, when, in the sixth century before 
Christ, Gautama Buddha was born and proclaimed to 
the poor and the lowly that Vedic rites were useless, 
that a holy and tranquil and benevolent life is the 
essence of religion, and that caste distinctions do not 
exist among those who strive after holiness and purity. 
Thousands responded to his appeal, and thus a catholic 
religion began to spread in India, which has since be- 
come the religion of Asia. 

From this brief account of the age given by way of 
introduction, the reader will have some idea of the intel- 
lectual activity of this most brilliant period of Hindu 
civilization. Eeligious rights and duties were laid down 
lucidly and concisely for householders; civil and crim- 
inal laws were compiled; phonetics, metre, and gram- 
mar were dealt with with scientific accuracy; geometry 



and mathematics were cultivated; mental philosophy 
and logic were studied and developed with marvellous 
success; and a noble religion was proclaimed which is 
now the faith of a third of the human race. 



THE history of India received a new light in the 
Age of Laws, or Philosophic Period, when the 
Greeks visited India and also compiled accounts of it 
from report. The first two epochs of Hindu history 
receive no light, therefore, from Greek literature, but in 
this third era India began to be known to Greece. Not 
to mention the philosopher Pythagoras, who is supposed 
by some scholars to have come under Indian influence, 
we may refer to the allusions to India in Herodotus, 
the Father of History, who lived in the fifth century 
before Christ. 

Herodotus never visited India, but he gives from 
report valuable accounts of the Hindus, although he 
mingles them with legends and stories, and often con- 
founds Hindu customs with those of the uncivilized 
aborigines who still inhabited large tracts in India. 
He tells us that the Indians were the greatest nation 
of the age, that they were divided into various tribes 
and spoke different tongues, that they procured great 
quantities of gold in their country, that India abounded 



in animals larger than those of any other country, 
and produced wild trees which bore wool (cotton) from 
which the Indians made their clothing. He also men- 
tions the fact, which is probably historically true, that 
Darius, King of Persia, subjugated a part of India, 
and that his ships sailed down the Indus to the sea. 

And lastly, Megasthenes came to India in the fourth 
century before Christ, and lived in the court of Chan- 
dragupta in Pataliputra, or ancient Patna, writing an 
account of India which still survives in fragments pre- 
served by subsequent authors, although his original 
work is lost. 

We have seen that by the end of the Brahmanic and 
Epic Periods the whole of the valley of the Ganges and 
Jumna from Delhi to North Behar had been conquered, 
peopled, and Hinduized, and we also know that towards 
the close of this period Hindu settlers and colonists left 
the valley of the Ganges and penetrated into remote un- 
known lands, into Southern Behar, Malwa, the Deccan, 
and Gujarat. Thus these non-Aryan provinces were 
becoming gradually known to the Hindus, and were 
slowly coming under Hindu influence and power when 
the Epic Period closed and the Philosophic Period 

The waves of Hindu conquests rolled onwards, and 
the aborigines submitted themselves to a higher civiliza- 
tion and a nobler creed. Rivers were crossed, forests 
were cleared, lands were reclaimed, wide wastes were 
peopled, and new countries hitherto aboriginal wit- 
nessed the rise of Hindu power and of Hindu religion. 



Where a few scanty settlers had penetrated at first, 
powerful colonies grew; where religious teachers had 
retired in seclusion, quiet villages and towns arose. 
Where a handful of merchants had made their way by 


some unknown river, boats plied up and down with 
valuable cargoes for a civilized population. Where 
hardy warriors or scions of royal houses had dwelt in 
exile or by the chase, powerful monarchs reigned over 
a conquered, civilized, and Hinduized aboriginal pop- 
ulation. And where foresters had felled trees and 


cleared small tracts of land, smiling fields covered with 
waving corn spread for miles around, betokening the 
spread of civilization and of the civilized arts of life. 

Such was the history of Aryan conquests from gen- 
eration to generation and from century to century in 
the Philosophic Period, and each succeeding Sutra work 
shows that the circle of civilization spread wider, and 
that the zone of unreclaimed barbarism receded farther 
and farther. And long before the close of this period, 
in the fourth century B. c., the entire peninsula had been 
reclaimed, civilized, and Hinduized, and primitive bar- 
barians dwelt only in rocks, forests, and deserts which 
the Aryans disdained to conquer. It is not merely a 
story of conquests, which would have little interest for 
the philosophical reader. It is a story of the spread of 
Hindu civilization among hitherto unknown countries 
and aboriginal nations. It was the acceptance, by the 
Andhras of the Deccan and the Saurashtras of Gujarat, 
by the Cholas, Cheras, and Pandyas of Southern India, 
by the Magadhas, the Angas, the Vangas, and the Ka- 
lingas of Eastern India, of that superior religion and 
language and civilization which the Hindu Aryans of- 
fered to them. The gift was accepted and cherished, 
and henceforth the Dravidian and other tribes of South- 
ern and Eastern India were Aryans in religion, language, 
and civilization. This was the great work and result 
of the Philosophic Period. 

Baudhayana lived probably in the sixth century 
before Christ, and was one of the earliest of the Sutra- 
karas. In his time the zone of Hindu kingdoms and 







ft 5c 
6C 5 






civilization extended as far south as Kalinga, or the 
eastern seaboard, stretching from modern Orissa south- 
ward to the mouth of the Krishna. The passage which 
we quote is interesting, because it shows that the an- 
cient Aryan region along the Ganges and the Jumna 
was still regarded as the suitable home of the Aryans, 
while tracts of country in which the non-Aryan tribes 
had been recently Hinduized were regarded with some 
degree of contempt. 

" The country of the Aryas (Aryavarta) lies to the 
east of the region where the River (Sarasvati) disap- 
pears, to the west of the Black Forest (Kalakavana), 
to the north of the Paripatra (Vindhya mountains), 
and to the south of the Himalaya. The rule of conduct 
which prevails there is authoritative. 

" Some declare the country between the Yamuna 
and Ganga (to be the Aryavarta). 

" Now the Bhallavins quote also the following verse: 

" In the west the boundary river, in the east the 
region where the sun rises, as far as the black antelopes 
wander, so far spiritual pre-eminence is found. 

" The inhabitants of Avanti (Malwa), of Anga 
(East Behar), of Magadha (South Behar), of Sau- 
rashtra (Gujarat), of the Deccan, of Upavrit, of Sindh, 
and the Sauviras (South Panjab) are of mixed origin. 

" He who has visited the Arattas (in the Panjab), 
Karaskaras (in South India), Pundras (in North Ben- 
gal), Sauviras (in the Panjab), Vangas (in Eastern 
Bengal), Kalingas (in Orissa), or Pranunas shall offer 
a Punastoma or a Sarvaprishtha sacrifice "such was 


the extreme limit of the Hindu world about the sixth 
century before Christ. 

That portions of Southern India had not only been 
colonized by this date, but had become the seats of 
Hindu kingdoms and of distinct schools of laws and 
learning, is proved by the writings of Baudhayana. 
Baudhayana himself may have been a southerner, at 
any rate he takes care to mention the peculiar laws and 
customs of Southern India. We will cite one passage: 

" There is a dispute regarding five practices, in the 
south and in the north. 

" We will explain those peculiar to the south. 

" They are to eat in the company of an uninitiated 
person, to eat in the company of one's wife, to eat stale 
food, to marry the daughter of a maternal uncle or of 
a paternal aunt. 

" Now the customs peculiar to the north are: to 
deal in wool, to drink rum, to sell animals that have 
teeth in the upper and in the lower jaws, to follow the 
trade of arms, and to go to sea. 

" He who follows these practices in any other coun- 
try than where they prevail commits sin. 

" For each of these customs the rule of the country 
should be the authority." 

Let us now take leave of Baudhayana and come to 
the next Sutrakara of India. If Baudhayana be sup- 
posed to have flourished in the sixth century before 
Christ, Apastamba probably flourished in the fifth. 
There can be little doubt that Apastamba lived and 
taught in the Andhra country, and the limits of that 



great monarchy embraced all the districts between the 
Godavari and the Krishna, the capital apparently being 
situated near the modern Amaravati on the lower 
Krishna. It was the Andhra text of the Taittiriya 
Aranyaka which Apastamba recognized and followed, 
and his teachings are to 
this day held in regard by 
the Apastambiya Brah- 
manas of Nasik, Puna, 
Ahmadabad, Satara, 
Sholapur, Kolhapur, and 
other places in the Dec- 

Thus we find that the 
conquest of Southern In- 
dia which was commenced 
at the close of the Epic 
Period went on through 
succeeding centuries; that 
by the sixth century, Bengal, Orissa, Gujarat, and the 
Deccan had been conquered and Aryanized; and that by 
the fifth century the Deccan as far south as the Krishna 
Eiver was the seat of a powerful Hindu Empire. By the 
fourth century B. c. the whole of Southern India south 
of the Krishna River had been Hinduized, and three 
great Hindu kingdoms, those of the Cholas, the Cheras, 
and the Pandyas had been founded, stretching as far 
south as Cape Comorin; and Ceylon, too, had been dis- 
covered. And when we come towards the close of this 
century, we issue now from the obscurity of isolated 



passages in the Sutra works into the sunlight of Greek 
accounts of India. For it was in this century that 
Megasthenes, the ambassador of Seleucus, came to 
India and resided in the royal court of Chandragupta 
in Pataliputra, or ancient Patna, between 317 and 
312 B. c. 

The account of the races and kingdoms in India 
given by Megasthenes is full and intelligible, and 
gives us a clear idea of the state of the country at 
the close of the Philosophic Period. 

The Prachyas, by which name we are now to under- 
stand the Magadhas, had become the most powerful 
and foremost nation in India in the fourth cen- 
tury B. c., as the Kurus, the Panchalas, the Videhas 
and the Kosalas had been in the Epic Period. They 
had their capital at Pataliputra, a flourishing town 
described as eighty stadia, or nine miles, long and fif- 
teen stadia, or nearly two miles, wide. It was a par- 
allelogram in shape, girded with a wooden wall pierced 
with loopholes for the discharge of arrows, and de- 
fended by a ditch in front. 

It would seem that the whole of Northern India 
was now included in the powerful and extensive em- 
pire of Chandragupta, for the Jumna, flowing through 
Mathura and Caresbora, was said to run through the 
kingdom of Pataliputra. The nation surpassed in power 
and glory every other people in India, and their king 
Chandragupta had a standing army of 600,000 foot 
soldiers, 30,000 cavalry, and 9,000 elephants. 

Speaking of South Bengal, Megasthenes mentions 


the Kalingoi living nearest the sea, the Mandu and the 
Malli living higher up, the Gangerides, near the mouths 
of the Ganges, and the Modo-Galingoi in an island 
in the Ganges. It is impossible not to recognize in 
the first and last of these names the ancient name of 
Kalinga, which included Orissa and the sea-coast of 

Megasthenes describes Parthalis as the capital of 
the Kalingoi. The powerful king of this place had 
60,000 foot-soldiers, 1,000 horse, and 700 elephants. 
A large island in the Ganges is said to have been in- 
habited by the Modo-Galingoi (Madhya-Kalinga), and 
beyond them several powerful tribes lived under a 
king who had 50,000 foot-soldiers, 4,000 cavalry, and 
400 elephants. Beyond them again lived the Andaroi, in 
whom it is impossible not to recognize the Andhras 
of Southern India. The Andhras were a great and 
powerful nation who had settled originally between 
the Godavari and the Krishna, but who before the 
time of Megasthenes had extended their kingdom as 
far north as the Narmada. Megasthenes writes that 
they were a powerful race, possessed numerous vil- 
lages and thirty walled towns, and supplied their king 
with 100,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, and 1,000 ele- 

In the extreme northwest, Megasthenes speaks of 
the Isari, the Cosyri, and other tribes located prob- 
ably in Kashmir or its neighbourhood. The Indus is 
said to skirt the frontiers of the Prachyas, by which 
we understand that the powerful and extensive empire 


of Magadha extended as far as the frontiers of the 
Panjab, and embraced all Northern India. 

In the time of Megasthenes a great portion of mod- 
ern Rajputana was still the home of aboriginal tribes, 
of men who lived in woods, among tigers noted for 
their ferocity. He speaks of the tribes who lived in 
the fertile tracts surrounded by deserts, and of tribes 
who inhabited the hills, which ran in an unbroken 
chain parallel to the shores of the ocean. He also 
speaks of the tribes who lived enclosed by the loftiest 
mountain, Capitalia, which has been identified with 
Abu. He speaks further on of the Horatoi, who were 
undoubtedly the Saurashtras. They had a capital on 
the coast, which was a noble emporium of trade, and 
their king was the master of 1,600 elephants, 150,000 
foot, and 5,000 horse. 

" Next come the Pandoi, the only race in India 
ruled by women. They say that Hercules had but one 
daughter, who was on that account all the more be- 
loved, and that he endowed her with a noble kingdom. 
Her descendants rule over 300 cities and command an 
army of 150,000 foot and 500 elephants." 

Such is the half-mythical account which Megas- 
thenes gives us of the Pandyas, who were the ruling 
nation in the extreme south of India. These Pandyas 
have a history which is remarkable. 

The Yadavas, who, under the leadership of Krishna, 
left Mathura and settled in Dwarka in Gujarat, did not 
flourish there long. They fell fighting among them- 
selves, and the remainder left Dwarka by sea. It is 


believed that they came to Southern India, where they 
founded a new kingdom. They probably called them- 
selves Pandyas because they pretended to be of the 
same race with the Pandavas, and they named their 
new southern capital Mathura, or Madura, as the town 
is called to the present day. Megasthenes no doubt 
refers to Krishna under the name of Hercules, and 
he had probably heard some legend which was then 
current in India, about the foundation of the southern 
kingdom by Krishna for his daughter. 

And lastly, the island of Ceylon was known in the 
time of Megasthenes. It was conquered by Vijaya, a 
prince of Magadha who had been exiled by his father 
for his misdeeds in the fifth century before Christ. 
When Megasthenes came to India, Ceylon was already 
a Hindu kingdom. The island was called Taprobane 
by the Greeks, the name being slightly altered from 
the Pali name Tambapanni, which corresponds to the 
Sanskrit Tamraparni, or the copper-leaved. Megas- 
thenes says that the island was separated from the 
mainland by a river, and that the country was pro- 
ductive of gold and large pearls, and elephants much 
larger than the Indian breeds. ^Elian, who wrote long 
after Megasthenes, but got much of his information 
about India from the account of Megasthenes, states 
that Taprobane was a large mountainous island full of 
palm groves, that the inhabitants dwelt in huts of 
reeds, and that they transported their elephants in 
boats which they constructed for the purpose, and sold 
them to the King of Kalinga. 



AN account of the system of administration which 
prevailed in India over two thousand years ago 
will naturally interest our readers, and fortunately 
both Hindu Sutrakaras and Greek writers furnish us 
with reliable information on the subject. We will 
begin our account with some extracts from Sutra 
works. The king is directed to build a royal town 
and a palace for himself, looking towards the south: 

" The palace shall stand in the heart of the town. 

" In front of that there shall be a hall. That is 
called the hall of invitation. 

" At a little distance from the town to the south 
he shall cause to be built an assembly house with doors 
on the south and on the north sides, so that one can 
see what passes inside and outside." 

Fires shall burn constantly and oblations shall be 
offered in these fires, and 

" In the hall he shall entertain his guests, at least 
those who are skilled in the Vedas. 

" Rooms, a couch, meat, and drink should be given 
to them according to their good qualities. 1 



A table with dice should also be provided, and 
Brahmans, Vaisyas, and Sudras may be allowed to 
play there. Assaults of arms, dancing, singing, and 
music are allowed in the houses of the king's servants; 


and the king shall constantly take care of his sub- 

" That king only takes care of the welfare of his 
subjects in whose dominions, be it in villages or forests, 
there is no danger from thieves." 

Both Vasishtha and Baudhayana declare that the 
king is entitled to a sixth portion of the income of his 
subjects as taxes, but they exempt many classes who 


are unable to pay, while Gautama details the taxes 

" Cultivators pay to the king a tax amounting to 
one-tenth, one-eighth, or one-sixth (of the produce). 

" Some declare that the tax on cattle and gold 
amounts to one-fiftieth (of the stock). 

" In the case of merchandise one-twentieth (must 
be paid by the seller) as duty. 

" Of roots, fruits, flowers, medicinal herbs, honey, 
meat, grass, and fire-wood, one-sixtieth. 

" Each artisan shall monthly do one day's work 
(for the king). 

" Hereby the taxes payable by those who support 
themselves by personal labour have been explained. 

" And those payable by owners of ships and carts. 

" He must feed these persons while they work for 

Megasthenes gives us a valuable account of the 
manner in which the work of administration was ac- 
tually carried on, and the following passages from 
McCrindle's translation will be read with interest: 

" Those who have charge of the city are divided 
into six bodies of five each. The members of the first 
look after everything relating to the industrial arts. 
Those of the second attend to the entertainment of 
foreigners. To these they assign lodgings, and they 
keep watch over their modes of life by means of those 
persons whom they give to them for assistants. They 
escort them on the way when they leave the country, 
or in the event of their dying, forward their property 


to their relatives. They take care of them when they 
are sick, and if they die bury them. The third body 
consists of those who inquire when and how births 
and deaths occur, with the view not only of levying a 
tax, but also in order that births and deaths among 
both high and low may not escape the cognizance of 
government. The fourth class superintends trade and 
commerce. Its members have charge of weights and 
measures, and see that the products in their season are 
sold by public notice. No one is allowed to deal in more 
than one kind of commodity unless he pays a double 
tax. The fifth class supervises manufactured articles, 
which are sold by public notice. What is new is sold 
separately from what is old, and there is a fine for 
mixing the two together. The sixth and last class 
consists of those who collect the tenths of the prices 
of the articles sold." 

The military officers " also consist of six divisions 
with five members to each. One division is appointed 
to co-operate with the admiral of the fleet; another 
with the superintendent of the bullock trains which 
are used for transporting engines of war, food for the 
soldiers, provender for the cattle, and other military 
requisites. The third division has charge of the foot- 
soldiers, the fourth of the horses, the fifth of the war- 
chariots, and the sixth of the elephants." 

Besides the municipal officers and military officers, 
there was yet a third class of officers who superin- 
tended agriculture, irrigation, forests, and generally 
the work of administration in rural tracts. " Some 


superintend the rivers, measure the land, as is done in 
Egypt, and inspect the sluices by which water is let 
out from the main canals into their branches, so that 

every one may have an 
equal supply of it. The 
same officers have 
charge also of the hunts- 
men, and are entrusted 
with the power of re- 
warding or punishing 
them according to their 
deserts. They collect the 
taxes and superintend 
the occupations c o n - 
nected with land, as 
those of the wood-cut- 
ters, the carpenters, the 
blacksmiths, and the 
miners. They construct 
roads, and at every ten 
stadia set up a pillar to 
show the by-roads and distances." 

Of the personal habits and occupations of kings, 
Megasthenes has given us a picture which agrees in 
the main with the picture given in Sanskrit literature. 
The care of the king's person was entrusted to female 
slaves, who were bought from their parents, and the 
guards and the rest of the soldiery were stationed 
outside the gates. The king attended the court every 
day and remained there during the day without allow- 



ing the business to be interrupted. The only other 
occasions on which he left the palace were when he 
performed sacrifices or went out for the chase. Crowds 
of women surrounded him when he went out for the 
chase, and outside this circle the spearmen were ranged. 
Armed women attended the king in chariots, on horses, 
or on elephants, when he hunted in the open grounds 
from the back of an elephant. Sometimes he shot 
arrows from a platform inside an enclosure, and two 
or three armed women stood by him on the platform. 
These accounts show that the sturdy and warlike man- 
ners of the Kurus and the Panchalas of the Epic Age 
had already been replaced by more luxurious and effem- 
inate habits in the Philosophic Age. The age of chiv- 
alry had gone, and that of luxury had come. 

Arrian gives an account of the way in which the 
Hindus equipped themselves for war: " The foot- 
soldiers carry a bow made of equal length with 
the man who bears it. This they rest upon the 
ground, and pressing against it with their left foot, 
thus discharge the arrow, having drawn the string 
far backwards; for the shaft they use is little short 
of being three yards long, and there is nothing which 
can resist an Indian archer's shot neither shield 
nor breastplate, nor any stronger defence, if such there 
be. In their left hand they carry bucklers made of 
undressed ox-hide, which are not so broad as those 
who carry them, but are about as long. Some are 
equipped with javelins instead of bows, but wear a 
sword, which is broad in the blade, but not longer 


than three cubits; and this, when they engage in close 
fight (which they do with reluctance), they wield with 
both hands to fetch down a lustier blow. The horse- 
men are equipped with two lances like the lances called 
Saunia, and with a shorter buckler than that carried 
by the foot-soldiers. For they do not put saddles on 
their horses; nor do they curb them with bits in use 
among the Greeks or the Kelts, but they fit on round 
the extremity of the horse's mouth a circular piece 
of stitched raw ox-hide studded with pricks of iron or 
brass pointing inwards, but not very sharp; if a man 
is rich he uses pricks made of ivory." 

The laws of war were more humane among the 
Hindus than among other nations in the world, and 
Apastamba declares that " the Aryans forbid the 
slaughter of those who have laid down their arms, of 
those who beg for mercy with flying hair or joined 
hands, and of fugitives," while Baudhayana says: 
" Let him not fight with those who are in fear, in- 
toxicated, insane, or out of their minds, nor with those 
who have lost their armour, nor with women, infants, 
aged men, and Brahmans." Megasthenes also vouches 
for the humane laws of war among the Hindus. " For 
whereas among other nations it is usual in the con- 
tests of war to ravage the soil and thus to reduce it 
to an uncultivated waste, among the Indians, on the 
contrary, by whom husbandmen are regarded as a class 
that is sacred and inviolable, the tillers of the soil, 
even when battle is raging in their neighbourhood, 
are undisturbed by any sense of danger; for the com- 


batants on either side, in waging the conflict, make 
carnage of each other, but allow those engaged in 
husbandry to remain quite unmolested. Besides, they 
neither ravage an enemy's land with fire, nor cut down 
its trees." 

Megasthenes tells us that the Indian tribes num- 
bered 118 in all. On the north of India and beyond 
the Himalaya the country " is inhabitated by those 
Scythians who are called the Sakai." Such is the 
brief mention made of that powerful tribe which hung 
like an ominous cloud on the northern slopes of the 
Himalaya in the fourth century before Christ, but which 
in the course of a few centuries burst like a hurri- 
cane on the plains of Western India. 

Of the peaceful and law-abiding people in India, 
Megasthenes gives an account which is well-nigh 
Utopian:" They live happily enough, being simple 
in their manners and frugal. They never drink wine, 
except at sacrifices. Their beverage is a liquor pre- 
pared from rice instead of barley, and their food is 
principally a rice pottage. The simplicity of their 
laws and their contracts is proved by the fact that they 
seldom go to law. They have no suits about pledges 
and deposits, nor do they require either seals or wit- 
nesses, but make their deposits and confide in each 
other. Their houses and property they generally leave 
unguarded. These things indicate that they possess 
sober sense. Truth and virtue they hold alike in 
esteem. Hence they accord no special privileges to 
the old unless they possess superior wisdom." 


Megasthenes further states that the Indians did 
" not even use aliens as slaves, and much less a 
countryman of their own," that thefts were very rare 
among them, that their laws were administered from 
memory, and even that they were ignorant of the art 
of writing. We have the evidence of Nearchos, how- 
ever, that writing was known in India in the Philo- 
sophic Period, and the statement of Megasthenes only 
shows that writing was in very little use, either in 
schools, where boys received their learning and their 
religious lessons by rote, or even in courts of justice, 
where the Dharma Sutras were administered by learned 
judges entirely from memory. 

Arrian quotes a passage from Nearchos, and says 
that the Indians " wear an under-garment of cotton 
which reaches below the knee half-way down to the 
ankles, and also an upper garment which they throw 
partly over their shoulders and partly twist in folds 
round their head. They wear shoes made of white 
leather, and these are elaborately trimmed, while the 
soles are variegated, and made of great thickness/' 
And the great mass of the " people of India live 
upon grain and are tillers of the soil, but we must 
except the hillmen, who eat the flesh of beasts of 

Our faithful guide Megasthenes also gives us an 
account of cultivation in Ancient India which, on the 
whole, corresponds with the system of cultivation prev- 
alent at the present time. He speaks of a double rain- 
fall in the year, considering the winter showers as a 


regular rainfall. He speaks of " many vast plains of 
great fertility, more or less beautiful, but all alike 
intersected by a multitude of rivers. The greater part 
of the soil, moreover, is under irrigation and conse- 
quently bears two crops in the course of the year. 
It teems at the same time with animals of all sorts, 
beasts of the field and fowl of the air, of all different 
degrees of strength and size. It is prolific, besides, 
in elephants which are of monstrous bulk. In addition 


to cereals, there grows throughout India much millet, 
which is kept well watered by the profusion of river 
streams, and much pulse of different sorts, and rice 
also, and what is called bosporum, as well as many 
other plants useful for food, of which most grow spon- 
taneously. The soil yields, moreover, not a few other 
edible products fit for the subsistence of animals about 
which it would be tedious to write. It is accordingly 
affirmed that famine has never visited India, and that 
there has never been a general scarcity in the supply 


of nourishing food. For since there is a double rain- 
fall in the course of each year one in the winter 
season, when the sowing of wheat takes place as in 
other countries, and the second at the time of the 
summer solstice, which is the proper season for sowing 
rice and bosporum, as well as sesamum and millet 
the inhabitants of India almost always gather two har- 
vests annually; and even should one of the sowings 
prove more or less abortive, they are always sure of 
the other crop. The fruits, moreover, of spontaneous 
growth, and the esculent roots, which grow in marshy 
places and are of varied sweetness, afford abundant 
sustenance for man." 

The excellent manufactures of India were known 
to the traders of Phoenicia and in the markets of 
Western Asia and Egypt long before the Christian 
era. Megasthenes naively says that the Indians were 
" well skilled in the arts, as might be expected of men 
who inhale a pure air and drink the very finest water." 
The soil, too, has " under ground numerous veins of 
all sorts of metals, for it contains much gold and silver, 
and copper and iron in no small quantity, and even 
tin and other metals, which are employed in making 
articles of use and ornament, as well as the implements 
and accoutrements of war." 

With regard to finery and ornament, Megasthenes 
says that " in contrast to the general simplicity of their 
style, they love finery and ornament. Their robes are 
worked in gold and ornamented with precious stones, 
and they also wear flowered garments of the finest 


muslin. Attendants walking behind hold up umbrellas 
over them, for they have a high regard for beauty 
and avail themselves of every device to improve their 



r India, as throughout the ancient world, legal 
equality was unknown. There was one law for the 
Brahman and another for the Sudra; the former was 
treated with undue leniency, the latter with cruel 
severity. If a Brahman committed one of the four or 
five heinous crimes enumerated in the law-books, that 
is, if he slew a Brahman, violated his guru's bed, stole 
the gold of a Brahman, or drank spirituous liquor, the 
king branded him on the forehead with a heated iron 
and banished him from his realm. If a man of a lower 
caste slew a Brahman, he was punished with death 
and the confiscation of his property, while if he slew a 
man of equal or lower caste, other suitable punish- 
ments were meted out to him. 

Adultery has always been looked upon in India 
not only as a criminal offence, but as an offence of a 
heinous nature; but here again punishment for the 
offence was regulated by the caste of the offender. 
A man of the first three castes who committed adultery 
with a Sudra woman was banished; but a Sudra who 
committed adultery with a woman of the first three 
castes suffered capital punishment. 



Indeed, Brahman legislators have painted them- 
selves worse than they really were. In order to point 
out the vast distinction between themselves and the 
Sudras, they prescribed monstrous punishments for the 
latter, which, it is safe to assert, always remained 
an empty threat, and were meant as a threat only. 
If a Sudra spoke evil of a virtuous person belonging 
to one of the first three castes, his tongue was to be 
cut out, and a Sudra who assumed an equal position 
with those castes was to be flogged. Similarly we are 
told that a Sudra who reviled a twice-born man or 
assaulted him with blows should lose the limb with 
which he offended; that if he listened to a recitation 
of the Veda, his ears should be stopped with molten 
lac or tin; that if he recited the Veda, his tongue 
should be cut out; and if he remembered Vedic texts, 
his body should be split in twain. 

A Kshatriya abusing a Brahman must pay 100 kar- 
shapanas, and one beating a Brahman pays 200 karsha- 
panas. A Vaisya abusing a Brahman is fined 150 kar- 
shapanas, and we suppose pays 300 for beating him. 
But a Brahman has to pay only 50 karshapanas for 
abusing a Kshatriya, 25 for abusing a Vaisya, and for 
abusing a Sudra nothing! 

Death or corporal punishment seems to have been 
the punishment for theft, at least in some cases; and 
the thief is directed to appear before the king with 
dishevelled hair, holding a club in his hand, and pro- 
claiming his deed. If the king pardons him and does 
not slay him or strike him, the guilt falls on the king. 

222 LAWS 

The prerogative of mercy was the king's alone, but a 
guru, a priest, a learned householder, or a prince could 
intercede for an offender, except in the case of a capi- 
tal offence. 

The lawgiver Vasishtha reserves the right of self- 
defence in the case of a person attacked by an Ata- 
tayi, a class of criminals including incendiaries, poi- 
soners, those ready to kill with weapons in their hands, 
robbers, and those who take away another's land or 
abduct another's wife. 

Agriculture and trade were the means of the 
people's subsistence, and crimes relating to a cultiva- 
tor's land or to an artisan's trade were punished 
with the utmost severity. We have seen that defence 
of land was one of the cases in which the right of self- 
protection was allowed, and false evidence given about 
land was regarded with the utmost detestation. By 
giving false evidence concerning small cattle, a witness 
commits the sin of killing ten men; by false evidence 
concerning cows, horses, and men, he commits the sin 
of killing a hundred, a thousand, and ten thousand men 
respectively; but by false evidence concerning land, he 
commits the sin of killing the whole human race. 

A severe penance is ordained for the man who at- 
tempts suicide, and the relations of a suicide are pro- 
hibited from performing funeral rites for him. Such 
was the criminal law of the Hindus over two thousand 
years ago. 

We now turn to the more complicated subject of 
civil law, which may be conveniently treated under 


five heads, the law of agriculture and pasture, the law 
of property, usury laws, the law of inheritance, and 
the law of partition. We begin with the law of agri- 
culture and pasture. According to Apastamba: 

" If a person who has taken a lease of land does 
not exert himself, and hence the land bears no crop, 
he shall, if he be rich, be made to pay the value of the 
crop that ought to have been grown. 

" A servant in tillage who abandons his work shall 
be flogged. 

" The same punishment shall be awarded to a 
herdsman who leaves his work. 

" And the flock entrusted to him shall be taken 

" If cattle, leaving their stable, eat crops, the owner 
of the crops may make them lean (by impounding 
them) ; but shall not exceed that. 

" If a herdsman who has taken cattle under his 
care allows them to perish or loses them, he shall 
replace them to the owners. 

" If (the king's forester) sees cattle that have been 
sent into the forest through negligence, he shall lead 
them back to the village and restore them to their 


Again Gautama says: 

" If damage is done by cattle, the responsibility 
falls on the owner. 

" But if the cattle were attended by a herdsman, 
it falls on the latter. 

" If the damage was done in an unenclosed field 



near the road, the responsibility falls on the herdsman 
and on the owner of the field." 

As in the present day, unenclosed fields were used 
as common property for grazing cattle and for obtain- 
ing firewood. 

Some equitable provisions are laid down by Vasish- 


tha about the right of way and about the evidence 
necessary in disputes about immovable property. 

"It is declared in the Smriti that there are three 
kinds of proof which give a title to property, docu- 
ments, witnesses, and possession; thereby an owner 
may recover property which formerly belonged to him. 

" From fields through which there is a right of 
way a space sufficient for the road must be set apart, 
likewise a space for turning a cart. 


" Near new-built houses and other things of the 
same description, there shall be a passage three feet 

" In a dispute about a house or a field, reliance 
must be placed on the depositions of neighbours. 

" If the statements of the neighbours disagree, 
documents may be taken as proof. 

" If conflicting documents are produced, reliance 
must be placed on the statements of aged inhabitants of 
the village or town, and on those of guilds and corpora- 
tions of artisans or traders." 

This brings us to the law of property. Property is 
divided into eight classes, thus: 

" Property inherited from a father, a thing bought, 
a pledge, property given to a wife after marriage by 
her husband's family, a gift, property obtained for per- 
forming a sacrifice, the property of re-united copart- 
ners, and wages as the eighth. 

" Whatever belonging to these eight kinds of prop- 
erty has been enjoyed by another person for ten years 
continuously is lost to the owner. 

" A pledge, a boundary, the property of minors, 
an open deposit, a sealed deposit, women, the prop- 
erty of a king, and the wealth of a Srotriya, are not 
lost by being enjoyed by others. 

" Property entirely given up by its owner goes to 
the king." 

Women and females here mean female slaves. With 
regard to minors and widows, there are provisions to 
the effect that the king shall administer their property 

226 LAWS 

and shall restore it in the case of a minor when he 
comes of age. 

We next turn to the usury laws of Ancient India. 
According to Vasishtha and Gautama, the interest for 
a money-lender was five mashas for twenty (karsha- 
panas) every month. 

The commentator Hara Datta reckons 20 mashas to 
the karshapana, so that the rate of interest comes to 
1*4 per cent, per month, or fifteen per cent, per annum; 
and Krishna Pandita correctly states that this rate of 
interest applies to loans for which security is given. 
Gautama also says that after the principal has been 
doubled, interest ceases, and when the object pledged 
is an object used by the creditor, the money lent bears 
no interest at all. 

Other articles might be lent at a much higher per- 
centage of interest, apparently when no security was 
given, as is clear from the following rules: 

" Gold may be lent, taking double its value on re- 
payment, and grain trebling the original price. 

" The case of flavouring substances has been ex- 
plained by the rule regarding grain. 

" As also the case of flowers, roots, and fruit. 

1(1 He may lend what is sold by weight, taking eight 
times the original value on repayment " ; and Gautama 
says: " The interest on products of animals, on wool, 
on the produce of a field, and on beasts of burden, shall 
not increase more than fivefold the value of the object 

Gautama likewise names no less than six different 


forms of interest, compound, periodical, stipulated, cor- 
poral, and daily, in addition to the use of a pledge. 
He lays down the rule that the heirs shall pay the debts 
of the dead, but provides that money due by a surety, 
a commercial debt, a fee due to the parents of the bride, 
immoral debts, and fines shall not devolve on the sons 
of the debtor. 

We thus come to the most important portion of the 
civil law, the law of inheritance. 

To leave male issue was considered a religious duty 
by the ancient Hindus, and in the older law-books sev- 
eral kinds of sons are recognized, some of whom were 
legitimate or quasi-legitimate, and might therefore in- 
herit, while others were considered unlawful and were 
debarred from all rights to their fathers' estates. At 
an early time, however, a reaction appears to have set 
in against the recognition of sons legitimate and ille- 
gitimate, even to escape the torments of hell after death. 
Apastamba, who lived a century or more after Baudha- 
yana, protests against the recognition of heirs and sons 
of various kinds, and explains away ancient customs 
by stating that what had been allowed in ancient times 
could not be permitted among the sinful men of the 
present time. He made a clear sweep, moreover, not 
only of niyoga, or the appointment of a wife to raise 
issue, but also of the adoption or the purchase of a son, 
and modern Hindus recognize no kinds of sons except 
legitimate sons, or those adopted in the absence of 
legitimate issue. 

Lastly, we come to the subject of the law of parti- 

228 LAWS 

tion. The law of primogeniture never obtained in India, 
but so long as the joint family system remained in 
vogue, the property of the father was inherited by the 
eldest son, who supported the rest as a father. It would 
seem, however, that to live in a joint family under the 
eldest brother was never the universal custom in India, 
and even Gautama, the earliest of the Sutrakaras whose 
works are extant, considers a partition among brothers 
preferable. According to Gautama, the eldest son got 
as an additional share a twentieth part of the estate, 
some animals, and a carriage; the middlemost son re- 
ceived some poor animals, and the youngest obtained 
sheep, grain, utensils, a house, a cart, and some ani- 
mals; while the remain ing property was divided equally. 
As an alternative, he allowed the eldest two shares, and 
the remaining sons one share each; or he would permit 
each to take one kind of property by choice, according 
to seniority; or the special shares might be adjusted 
according to their mothers. 

Vasishtha permitted the eldest brother to take a 
double share and a little of the kine and horses; he 
allowed the youngest to take the goats, sheep, and 
house; while the middlemost received utensils and fur- 
niture. If a Brahman had sons by Brahman, Kshat- 
riya, and Vaisya wives, the first obtained three shares, 
the second two, and the third one. 

Baudhayana allowed all the children to receive equal 
shares, or the eldest son might take one-tenth more 
than his brothers. Where there were sons born of wives 
of different castes, the sons were to receive four, three, 


two, and one shares respectively, according to the order 
of the castes. 

Apastamba differed in this respect from his pred- 
ecessors, and protested against the unequal division of 
property, declaring that all sons who were virtuous 
should inherit, but that he who spent money unright- 
eously should be disinherited, though he were the eldest 

The separate property of a wife, that is, her nuptial 
presents and ornaments, was inherited by her daugh- 

Such were the laws of the Philosophic Age. They 
show unmistakably the vast distance of time between 
this and the Epic Period, and show also the culture, the 
training, and the practical method of dealing with in- 
tricate subjects which were the peculiar features of 
this epoch. Criminal offences and civil cases were no 
longer tried according to the vague and varying opin- 
ions and feelings of learned men and priests, but were 
arranged, condensed, and codified into bodies of laws 
which learned men were called upon to administer. 



IN trying to reduce the caste-system into a code of 
rigid rules, the Sutrakaras of the period met with 
difficulty from the very first. They firmly believed that 
there were originally but four castes among men, Brah- 
mans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras; but they actu- 
ally found around them various other castes, formed 
by tribes of non-Aryans, who had gradually entered 
into the Hindu fold and formed low Hindu castes. 
Believing that all mankind was originally divided into 
only four castes, the Sutrakaras tried to evolve the new 
castes from the four parent castes. The fiction was 
then conceived that the new castes were formed by 
intermarriages among the parent castes. Thus Vasish- 
tha, from whom other Sanskrit authorities vary but in 
detail, says: 

" The offspring of a Sudra and a Brahman woman 
becomes a Chandala. 

" That of a Sudra and Kshatriya woman, a Vaina. 

" That of a Sudra and Vaisya woman, an Antya- 

" The son begotten by a Vaisya on a Brahman 
woman becomes a Bamaka. 




" The son begotten by a Vaisya on a Kshatriya 
woman, a Paulkasa. 

" The son begotten by 
a Kshatriya on a Brah- 
man woman becomes a 

" Children begotten 
by Brahmans, Kshatri- 
yas, and Vaisyas on 
women of the next lower, 
second lower, and third 
lower castes become re- 
spectively Ambashthas, 
Ugras, and Nishadas. 

" The son of a Brah- 
man and a Sudra woman 
is a Parasava." 

Here we have an 
authoritative statement 
which may well stagger 
the most faithful believer. 
Magadhas and Yaidehas, 
who were different races, 
Chandalas and Paulkasas, 
who were undoubtedly 
non - Aryan tribes, and 
even Yavanas, who were 
Bactrian Greeks and foreigners, were all treated by 
the same general and rigid law which recognized no 
exception, and were all declared to be descended from 


the four parent castes. And as the Hindus came to 
know other foreign nations later on, the elastic theory 
was stretched, and Manu derived those nations, too, 
from the same Hindu parent castes. 

It is remarkable, however, that the castes or races 
named above were nearly all aboriginal tribes or for- 
eigners, or Aryans who had incurred odium by their 
partiality for skepticism and Buddhism. We do not 
find names of profession-castes, answering to the Ka- 
yasthas, the Vaidyas, the goldsmiths, the blacksmiths, 
the potters, the weavers, and other artisans of Modern 
India, for the great and yet undivided Vaisya caste of 
the Philosophic Period still embraced all those different 
professions which in modern times have been divided 
and disunited into castes. The Aryan Vaisyas followed 
different trades and professions in Ancient India with- 
out forming separate castes; they were scribes and 
physicians, goldsmiths and blacksmiths, potters and 
weavers, while still belonging to the same caste. Thus 
the great body of the Aryan population was still united, 
and was still entitled to religious knowledge and learn- 

The study of the Veda, the performance of sacrifices, 
and the gift of alms were prescribed for all twice-born 
men, i. e. for Brahmans, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas. The 
special and additional occupations of the Brahman were 
the performance of sacrifice for others and the receiv- 
ing of alms, and agriculture and trade were also allowed 
to him provided he did not work himself. Yet the 
abuses begotten of the privileges of caste had already 


commenced as early as the Philosophic Period, and 
Brahmans, relieved of manual labour, had already com- 
menced to feed on the resources of the industrious 
classes, without acquiring that learning which alone 
would justify their exemption from labour. Vasishtha 
felt the injustice keenly and protested against it in 
language which could only be indited while Hinduism 
was still a living nation's religion, when he wrote: 

" (Brahmans) who neither study nor teach the Veda 
nor keep sacred fires become equal to Sudras. 

" The king shall punish that village where Brah- 
mans, unobservant of their sacred duties and ignorant 
of the Veda, subsist by begging, for it feeds robbers. 

" The sin that dunces, perplexed by ignorance, and 
unacquainted with the sacred law, declare to be duty, 
shall fall, increased a hundredfold, on those who pro- 
pound it. 

" An elephant made of wood, an antelope made of 
leather, and a Brahman ignorant of the Veda, those 
three have nothing but the name of their kind." 

The additional occupations of the Kshatriya were 
to govern and fight and make conquests, to learn the 
management of chariots and the use of the bow, and to 
stand firm in battle and not to turn back. The special 
duties of the Vaisya were trade, agriculture, tending 
cattle, lending money, and labour for gain. Sudras 
were to serve the other three castes, but were also 
allowed to labour for gain, an<J there can be no doubt 
that they traded and earned money by independent 
work to a large extent in the Philosophic Period as in 


all succeeding periods. Religious knowledge was, how- 
ever, forbidden to them. 

It is evident that the seven castes described by 
Megasthenes are virtually the four castes spoken of 
above. His philosophers and counsellors were the 
Brahmans, those who engaged in religious study, and 
those who took employment under the state respect- 
ively. His husbandmen, shepherds, and artisans were 
the Vaisyas and Sudras, who engaged in cultivation, in 
pasture, and in manufacture. And his soldiers were the 
Kshatriyas; while his overseers were only special serv- 
ants, spies of the king. 

Megasthenes further subdivides the philosophers 
into Brahmans or householders, and Sramans or ascet- 
ics. Of the former he says that " the children are 
under the care of one person after another, and as they 
advance in age, each succeeding master is more accom- 
plished than his predecessor. The philosophers have 
their abode in a grove in front of the city within a 
moderate-sized enclosure. They live in a simple style, 
and lie on beds of rushes or skins. They abstain from 
animal food and sensual pleasures, and spend their time 
listening to religious discourse and in imparting their 
knowledge to such as will listen to them. After living 
in this manner for seven and thirty years, each individ- 
ual retires to his own property, where he lives for the 
rest of his days in ease and security. They then array 
themselves in fine muslin, and wear a few trinkets of 
gold on their fingers and in their ears. They eat flesh, 
but not that of animals employed in labour. They ab- 



stain from hot and highly seasoned food. They marry 
as many wives as they please, with a view to having 
numerous children, for by having many wives greater 

advantages are enjoyed, and 
since they have no slaves, they 
have more need to have chil- 
dren around them to attend to their wants." 

Of the Sramans, or ascetics, Megasthenes tells us 
that " they live in the wood, where they subsist on 
leaves of trees and wild fruits, and wear garments made 
from the bark of trees. They communicate with the 
kings, who consult them by messengers, regarding the 
causes of things, and who through them worship and 
supplicate the deity." Some of them practised medi- 
cine, and Megasthenes writes: " They effect cures 
rather by regulating diet than by the use of medicines. 
The remedies most esteemed are ointments and plas- 
ters." We learn from this account, as we learn from 
other sources, that sects of ascetics, subsisting on roots 

and wild fruits, lived in Ancient India, bearing the 
name of Sramanas, before and after the time of Gau- 
tama Buddha. And when that great reformer preached 
a holy lif e and retirement from the world as the essence 
of his religion, his followers, who retired from the 
world, were called Sakyaputriya Sramans, or ascetics 
who followed the Sakya, to distinguish them from other 
sects of ascetics. 

Elsewhere Megasthenes says of the philosopher- 
caste that they, " being exempted from all public duties, 
are neither the masters nor the servants of others. 
They are, however, engaged by private persons to offer 
the sacrifices due in lifetime and to celebrate the obse- 
quies of the dead. They forewarn assembled multitudes 
about droughts and wet weather, and also about pro- 
pitious winds and diseases/' 

Of the military class, or the Kshatriya caste, Megas- 
thenes gives a very brief sketch. The soldiers were 
organized and equipped for war, but in times of peace 
gave themselves up to idleness and amusements. 

Of the husbandmen, shepherds, and artisans, Megas- 
thenes gives us a more interesting and lifelike sketch. 
Being exempted from fighting and other public services, 
the husbandmen " devote the whole of their time to 
tillage; nor would an enemy, coming upon a husband- 
man at work on his land, do him any harm, for men 
of this class, being regarded as public benefactors, are 
protected from all injury. The land thus remaining un- 
ravaged, and producing heavy crops, supplies the inhab- 
itants with all that is requisite to make life very enjoy- 



able. They pay a land tribute to the king, because all 
India is the property of the crown, and no private per- 
son is permitted to own land. Besides the land tribute, 
they pay into the royal treasury a fourth part of the 
produce of the soil. The shepherds neither settle in 
towns nor in villages, but live in tents. By hunting 
and trapping they clear the country of noxious birds 
and wild beasts. Of the artisans some are armourers, 
while others make the implements which husbandmen 
and others find useful in their different callings. This 
class is not only exempted from paying taxes, but even 
receives maintenance from the royal exchequer." 



IT is in the Sutras that we first find mention of the 
different forms of marriage with which we are famil- 
iar from the later metrical codes of law. Vasishtha 
mentions six forms: 

Brahma marriage; the father pours out a libation 
of water and gives his daughter to a suitor, a student. 

Daiva marriage; the father decks his daughter with 
ornaments and gives her to an officiating priest, while 
a sacrifice is performed. 

Arsha marriage; the father gives his daughter in 
exchange for a cow or a bull. 

Gandharva marriage; the lover takes and weds a 
loving maiden. 

Kshatra (or Bakshasa) marriage; the bridegroom 
forcibly takes a maiden, destroying her relatives by 
force of arms. 

Manusha (or Asura) marriage; the suitor purchases 
a damsel from her father. 

The lawgiver Apastamba recognizes only these six 
forms of marriage ; but the older writers, Gautama and 
Baudhayana, sanction eight forms of marriage, adding 






to these six forms one rite, Prajapatya, which was 
considered praiseworthy, and another form, Paisacha, 
which was sinful. In the Prajapatya form the father 
merely gave away his daughter to the suitor, saying, 
" Fulfil ye the law conjointly." The Paisacha form 
was simply a rape of an unconscious woman. 

Marriages among kinsfolk were rigorously prohib- 
ited in the Philosophic Period. Vasishtha prohibits 
marriage between a man and a woman of the same 
gotra or pravara, or who are related within four de- 
grees on the mother's side, or within six degrees on the 
father's side. Apastamba forbids wedlock between men 
and women of the same gotra, or who are related 
(within six degrees) on the mother's (or father's) side, 
but Baudhayana allows a man to marry the daughter 
of a maternal uncle or a paternal aunt. 

The marriage of girls at a tender age was not yet 
prevalent in the Philosophic Period. Vasishtha says: 

" A maiden who has attained puberty shall wait 
for three years. 

" After three years, she may take a husband of equal 

The marriage of widows, which was a prevalent 
custom in the Vedic and Brahmanic Periods, continued 
to prevail in the Philosophic Period, but was not looked 
upon with favour except in the case of child-widows, 
and the son of a remarried widow was often classed 
with adopted sons, or sons by^ an appointed wife or 

The first great event in a boy's life seems to have 





been his initiation as a student. A Brahman boy 
was initiated between eight and sixteen, a Kshatriya 
between eleven and twenty-two, and a Vaisya be- 
tween twelve and twenty-four. The initiated boy 
then lived as a religious student in 
the house of his teacher for twelve, 
twenty-four, thirty-six, or forty-eight 
years, according as he wished to master 
one, two, three, or the four Vedas. Dur- 
ing this period of his life he avoided all 
spiced food, perfumes, and articles of 
luxury; he tied his hair in a knot, he bore a staff and a 
girdle, and a cloth of flax or hemp, or even only a skin. 
Avoiding all places of amusement and of pleasure, re- 
straining his senses, modest and humble, the young 
student went out every morning with his staff to beg 
for food from charitable householders in the neigh- 
bouring villages, and all that he obtained in the course 
of the day he placed before his teacher, tasting food 
only after his teacher had done with his meals. He 
went to the forest to fetch fuel, and evening and morn- 
ing he brought water for household use. Every morn- 
ing he swept and cleaned the altar, kindled the fire, 
and placed the sacred fuel on it; and every evening 
he washed his teacher's feet and rubbed him and put 
him to bed, before he retired to rest. Such was the 
humble and simple life which ancient Hindu students 
led, when they devoted all the energies of their mind 
to the acquisition of the sacred learning of their fore- 


Instruction, it is needless to repeat, was imparted 
by rote. The student respectfully held the hand of his 
teacher, and fixed his mind on the teacher and said, 
" Venerable sir, recite," and the Savitri (the well- 
known Gayatri verse of the Rig- Veda) was recited, and 
learned as the introduction to the study of the Vedas. 
From day to day new lessons were recited and learned, 
the student dividing his day's work between his lessons 
and the household work of his teacher. 

When, after years of study, often under different 
teachers, the student at last returned to his home, he 
made a handsome gift to his instructors, married, and 
settled down as a householder. The Sutrakaras are 
never tired of impressing on householders the para- 
mount duty of courtesy and hospitality towards guests, 
for the reception of guests is an everlasting sacrifice 
offered by the householder to God. 

Besides the order of the student and that of the 
householder, there were two other orders of life, those 
of the ascetic (bhikshu), and the hermit (vaikhdnasa). 
We learn from later Sanskrit literature that a typ- 
ical or perfect life was the life of a man who belonged 
to these four orders in the successive periods of his 
life. But this was not the original idea, and in early 
times a man might have chosen to spend the whole 
of his life in one of these four orders. It is needless 
here to dwell on rules laid down for an ascetic and a 
hermit respectively. It will suffice to state that an 
ascetic shaved his head, had no property or home, prac- 
tised austerities, fasted or lived on alms, wore a single 


garment or a skin, slept on the bare ground, wandered 
about from place to place, and discontinued the per- 
formance of all religious ceremonies, but never ceased 
to study the Veda or to meditate upon the Universal 
Soul. A hermit, on the other hand, though dwelling 
in woods, living on roots and fruits, and leading a chaste 


life, kindled the sacred fire and offered the morning and 
evening libations. 

We now return to the householders, who formed the 
nation. For them no less than forty sacraments were 
prescribed, and an account of them will give us a 
glimpse into the religious and domestic life of the 
ancient Hindu. 

Domestic Ceremonies. Garbhadhana (ceremony 


to cause conception); Pumsavana (ceremony to cause 
the birth of a male child); Simantonnayana (arrang- 
ing the hair of the pregnant wife); Jatakarman (cere- 
mony on the birth of a child) ; naming the child; the 
first feeding; the tonsure of the head; the initia- 
tion; the four vows for the study of the Veda; the 
bath of completion of studentship; marriage; and the 
five sacrifices to gods, manes, men, spirits, and to 

Grihya rites, also called Pakayajnas. Astaka, or 
rites performed in winter; Parvana, or new and 
full moon rites; Sraddha, or sacrifices to departed 
ancestors; Sravani, a rite performed in the Sravana 
month; Agrahayani, performed in the Agrahayana 
month; Chaitri, performed in the month of Chai- 
tra; and Asvayugi, performed in the month of As- 

Srauta rites. These are again divided into two 
classes, Haviryajna, performed with offerings of rice, 
milk, butter, meat, and the like, and the Somayajna, 
performed with libations of the Soma-juice. 

The Haviryajna rites are Agnyadhana, Agnihotra, 
Darsapurnamasa, Agrayana, Chaturmasya, Mrudhapa- 
subandha, and Sautramani. 

The Somayajna rites are Agnishtoma, Atyagnish- 
toma, Ukthya, Shodasin, Vajapeya, Atiratra, and Ap- 

Such were the forty sacraments prescribed for 
householders; but far above the performance of these 
sacrifices was esteemed the possession of virtue and 


goodness, which alone led to heaven, so that Gautama 

" He who is sanctified by these forty sacraments, 
but whose soul is destitute of the eight good qualities, 
will not be united with Brahma, nor does he reach His 

" But he, forsooth, who is sanctified by only a few 
of these forty sacraments, and whose soul is endowed 
with the excellent qualities, will be united with Brahma 
and will dwell in His heaven/' 

We will now say a few words with regard to those 
of the forty sacraments which illustrate Hindu life. 
They include, as stated above, domestic ceremonies, 
Grihya rites, and Srauta rites. The Srauta rites, which 
have been briefly described in our account of the Brah- 
manic Age, throw little light on the manners and life 
of the people. The domestic ceremonies and Grihya 
rites, on the other hand, give us glimpses of inestimable 
value of the manners of the ancient Hindus. The most 
important of the domestic ceremonies are marriage, 
ceremonies performed during pregnancy, birth of a child, 
the first feeding of a child, tonsure, initiation, and re- 
turn from school on the completion of education. 

Marriage. The bridegroom sent messengers to the 
house of the girl's father, and if the proposal pleased 
both parties, the promise of marriage was ratified, both 
parties touching a full vessel into which flowers, fried 
grain, barley, and gold had been put, and reciting a 
formula. The bridegroom then performed a sacrifice. 
On the appointed day, the bride's relations bathed her 


with water fragrant with the choicest fruits and scents, 
clad her in a newly dyed garment, and caused her to 
sit down by a fire while the family priest performed 
a sacrifice. The bridegroom, who had also bathed and 
gone through auspicious ceremonies, was escorted by 
young unwidowed women to the house of his bride. 

The actual marriage ceremony varied in detail in 
different localities, but agreed in the essential points. 
The bridegroom took the hand of the bride, and led 
her three times round a fire, reciting certain verses, 
such as, " Come, let us marry. Let us beget offspring. 
Loving, bright, with genial mind, may we live a hun- 
dred autumns." Each time he made her tread a mill- 
stone, saying, " Like a stone be firm." The bride's 
brother or guardian filled her hands with ajya, or fried 
grain, which she sacrificed to the fire. The bridegroom 
then caused the bride to step forward seven steps, re- 
citing suitable words. The going round the fire, tread- 
ing the stone, sacrificing the fried grain, and stepping 
forward seven steps, constituted the principal forms 
of the marriage ceremony. " And she should dwell that 
night," says Asvalayana, " in the house of an old Brah- 
man woman whose husband is alive and whose children 
are alive. When she sees the Polar Star, the star of 
Arundhati, and the Seven Rishis (Ursa Major), let her 
break silence and say, ' May my husband live, and 
I get offspring.' " In like manner Sankhayana says, 
" Let them sit silent, when the sun has set, until the 
Polar Star appears. He shows her the star with the 
words, * Firm be thou, thriving with me.' Let her say, 


' I see the polar star; may I obtain offspring.' Through 
a period of three nights let them refrain from conjugal 

Pregnancy. Various were the rites performed dur- 
ing the pregnancy of a wife. In the first place, there 
was the Garbhadhana rite, which was supposed to se- 
cure conception. The Pumsavana rite was supposed to 
determine the male sex of the child, and the Garbha- 
rakshana secured the unborn child from danger, while 
the Simantonnayana, performed, according to Asva- 
layana, in the fourth month, and according to Sankha- 
yana, in the seventh month of pregnancy, or even, ac- 
cording to Gobhila, in the fourth, sixth, or eighth month, 
was a more interesting ceremony, and consisted in the 
husband's affectionately parting his wife's hair, with 
certain rites. 

Birth of a child. The rites performed on this occa- 
sion were called Jatakarman, or birth ceremony, Medha- 
jananam, or the production of intelligence, and Ayushya, 
or rite for prolonging life. On this occasion the father 
gave the child a secret name of an even number of syl- 
lables if the child was a male, and an uneven number if 
it was a female and only the father and mother knew 
that name. On the tenth day, when the mother was 
convalescent, an appellative for common use was given 
to the child. " The name of a Brahman should end in 
Sarman (e.g. Vishnu Sarman), that of a Kshatriya 
in Varman (e.g. Lakshmi Varman), and that of a 
Vaisya in Gupta (e.g. Chandra Gupta)." 

First feeding of the child with solid food. This is 


the well-known Annaprasana ceremony. The child 
seems to have been allowed a greater variety of food 
in the olden days than at the present time. Thus, 
Asvalayana and Sankhayana declare that he should par- 
take of " goat's flesh, if he be desirous of nourishment; 
flesh of partridge, if desirous of holy lustre; boiled rice 
with ghee, if desirous of splendour," to which Paras- 
kara adds such foods as " flesh of that bird called Bha- 
radvaji, if he wishes fluency of speech, and fish, if swift- 
ness be desired." 

Tonsure. This was performed when the child was 
one year old, according to Sankhayana and Paraskara, 
or when the child was in his third year, according to 
Asvalayana and Gobhila. The child's head was shaved 
with a razor with the recitation of certain Vedic verses 
(but without them in the case of a girl), and some hair 
was left and arranged according to the custom of the 

Initiation. This was an important ceremony, and 
was performed when a boy was entrusted by his father 
or guardian to the teacher for education. The age 
of initiation, as we have seen before, varied in the case 
of Brahmans, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas, and the sacred 
thread was worn on this occasion by all the three castes. 

Return from school. The student, after he had fin- 
ished his education, returned to his home, and if he 
had no ancestral house to go to, had to build a house. 
This, too, was accompanied by a ceremony, and by the 
utterance of the hymns of the Rig- Veda to Vastospati, 
the lord of dwelling-houses, as well as to other divini- 


ties. Then followed marriage and the setting up of 
fires, and the student became a householder, and had 
other and graver duties to perform. 

The most important of the Grihya rites was the 
Sraddha, or monthly offering to the departed fathers, 
and the feeding of Brahmans. " Brahmans endowed 
with learning, moral character, and correct conduct," 
were invited, and sat down " as representatives of the 
fathers r to whom the oblations were offered. The 
sacrificer then offered the Arghya water to the fathers 
with the words, " Father, this is thy Arghya; Grand- 
father, this is thy Arghya; Great-grandfather, this is 
thy Arghya." Gifts of perfumes, garlands, incense, 
lights, and clothes were then made to the Brahmans. 
With the permission of the Brahmans, food of the 
Sthalipaka prepared for the Pindapitriyajna was 
smeared with ghee and sacrificed in the fire, or in the 
hands of the Brahmans, together with other food. And 
when the sacrificer saw that the Brahmans were sati- 
ated, he recited the Vedic verse, " They have eaten, 
they have enjoyed themselves." 

Parvana. This was the rite observed on the new 
and full moon days, and consisted in fasting, as well 
as in offering cooked oblations to the deities of those 
days, with appropriate mantras. 

Sravani. This was a rite observed on the full moon 
day of the month of Sravana in the rainy season, and 
the idea was to propitiate serpents, which multiply in 
India in the rains. 

Asvayugi. This was a rite performed on the full 



moon day of Asvayuga or Asvina month, and is de- 
scribed by Sankhayana as follows: 

" On the full moon day of Asvayaga a milk-rice 
oblation to Indra. 

" Having sacrificed Ajya with the words, ' Hail to 
the two Asvins! Hail to the two Asvayugas! Hail 
to the full moon of Asvayuga! Hail to the autumn! 
Hail to Prajapati! Hail to the tawny one! ' 

" He shall sacrifice a mixture of curds and butter 
with this (Vedic) hymn, t The cows come hither,' verse 
by verse. 

" That night they let the calves join their mothers. 

" Then feeding of the Brahmans." 

It is impossible not to suspect from this account 
that the rite is essentially agricultural, and this inter- 
pretation is confirmed when Paraskara tells us that 
the rite was to be followed by a sacrifice to Sita, the 
goddess of the field furrow. 

Agrahayani. This rite was performed on the full 
moon day of the Agrahayana month. This particular 
night was considered to be the consort of the year, or 
the image of the year, and adoration was offered to the 
year, to Samvatsara, Parivatsara, Idavatsara, Idvat- 
sara, and to Vatsara, terms designating the different 
years of the quinquennial period of Yuga. 

Ashtaka. These rites received their name from the 
fact that they were performed on the eighth day of the 
three or four successive dark fortnights after the full 
moon of Agrahayana. Oblations were made with vege- 
tables, flesh, and cakes respectively. Gobhila quoted 


different opinions as to the object of these oblations, 
and declared that they might be for the gratification 
of Agni, or of the Fathers, or of Prajapati, or of the 
season gods, or of all the gods. It is more probable, 
however, that they were suggested by the winter sea- 
son, which is an enjoyable season in India, when the 
Aman rice is harvested and wheat and barley thrive, 
and when cakes and flesh and vegetables are not only 
acceptable to the " season gods," but are also highly 
gratifying to men. 

Chaitri, the last rite in the year, was performed on 
the full moon day of Chaitra, when Indra and Agni 
and Rudra and the Nakshatras, or constellations, were 





true glory of the Philosophic Period consists 

-- in the philosophy of Kapila and the religion of 
Buddha. Both worked to some extent on the same 
lines; both began with the great object of affording 
humanity a relief from the suffering which is the lot 
of all living beings; both rejected the remedies which 
the Vedic rites offered; both declared knowledge and 
meditation to be the means of salvation; both adopted 
the doctrine of transmigration from the Upanishads; 
both aimed at Nirvana; and both professed an agnostic 

But here the parallel ends. Kapila, who probably 
lived a century before Buddha, started the system of 
philosophy, but meant it only as philosophy addressed 
to high thinkers and speculative scholars, and not to 
the masses. Buddha, on the other hand, who was 
probably born in the very town sanctified by the mem- 
ory of the great philosopher, and was well versed in the 
philosophy of Kapila, possessed a deep and all-embra- 
cing sympathy, a feeling for the poor, a tear for the 



bereaved and the suffering. This was the secret of 
Buddha's great success. 

The object of Kapila's philosophy was to relieve 
mankind from the three kinds of pain, bodily and 
mental, natural and extrinsic, divine or supernatural. 
Vedic rites are inefficacious, because they are tainted 
with the slaughter of living beings; the complete and 
final emancipation of the soul is secured by knowledge 

Nature and Soul are eternal and self-existent. 
From Nature (prakriti) is produced intellect, conscious- 
ness, the five subtle elements, the five grosser elements, 
the five senses of perception, the five organs of action, 
and the mind. Soul (purusha) produces nothing, but 
is only linked with Nature, until its final emancipation. 
Kapila does not accept the orthodox opinion of the 
Upanishads that all souls are portions of the Universal 
Soul. He asserts that each soul is separate, and has 
a separate existence after its emancipation from the 
bonds of Nature. 

It will be seen that, according to Kapila, everything 
except purusha, or Soul, is derived from prakriti, or 
primordial matter, and is therefore material, so that 
he differs from modern materialistic philosophers only 
in asserting that there is a soul, independent of matter 
and eternal, though for a time linked with matter. 

The five senses simply receive impressions; the 
five organs of action, such as the voice, hands, and 
feet, act according to their functions; but the mind 
(manas) is not what is implied by the English word, 

A Chapel in the Elephanta Caves 

By far the best kiwzcn of all the cave-temples of India are those at 
Elephanta, an island some six miles from Bombay. Unlike the temple 
at Kadi, the rock-shrine at Elephanta is sacred to Brahiiianisin, and 
especially to Siva. The caves are belie-red to hare been excavated be- 
tween the ninth and eleventh centuries of our era. although the pious 
natives who flock there in rast numbers at the great festival of Sira 
in the latter part of February attribute to them a fabulous antiquity 
and a legendary origin. 


being only a sense organ which arranges the impres- 
sions and presents them to consciousness. Conscious- 
ness individualizes those impressions as " mine," and 
the intellect distinguishes and discriminates, and forms 
them into ideas. 

K a p i 1 a recog- 
nized only three 
kinds of evidence, 
perception, infer- 
ence, and testimony, 
and he admitted 
nothing which could 
not thus be known, 
so that, as neither 
perception, nor in- 
ference, nor testi- 
mony presented to 
him the idea of an 
external Author of 
all things, the Su- 
preme Deity Was not ASCETIC AT NASIK. 

admitted by him as knowable. On the other hand, he 
recognized causation, and argued the production of all 
formal existences from prakriti, or Nature, on five dif- 
ferent grounds. Firstly, specific objects are finite in 
their nature and must have cause. Secondly, different 
things have common properties and must be different 
species of the same primary genus. Thirdly, all things 
are in a constant state of progression, and show an active 
energy of evolution which must have been derived from 


a primary source. Fourthly, the existing world is an 
effect, and there must be a primary cause. And fifthly, 
there is an undividedness, a real unity in the whole 
universe, which argues a common origin. 

Purusha, or Soul, however, has a separate exist- 
ence, first, because matter is apparently collected and 
arranged with a design, which proves, according to 
Kapila, not a Designer, but the existence of soul, for 
which the things must have been arranged. Secondly, 
matter furnishes materials for pleasure and pain; 
hence sentient nature, which feels pleasure and pain, 
must be different from it. Thirdly, there must be a 
superintending force. Fourthly, there must be a nature 
that enjoys. And the fifth argument is that the yearn- 
ing for a higher life points to the possibility of gain- 
ing it. These were Kapila 's arguments for the exist- 
ence of soul independent of matter, yet he did not be- 
lieve in one soul, but held that the souls of different 
beings are distinct one from the other, thus diverging 
from the teaching of the Upanishads and the Vedantic 
school, which is based upon them. 

We have already said that Kapila borrowed the doc- 
trine of transmigration of souls from the Upanishads, 
and having borrowed this idea, he had to adapt it to 
his own system of philosophy. The soul, according to 
him, is so passive that the individuality of man is 
scarcely stamped on it, while the intellect, the con- 
sciousness, and the mind all belong to the material 
part of a man. Hence Kapila was constrained by his 
own rigid reasoning to assume that a subtle body, 


consisting of the intellect, the consciousness, the mind, 
and the subtle principles, migrated with the soul. 
This subtle body, or linga sarira, forms the personality 
of an individual, and ascends to a higher region or 
descends to a lower with the soul, according to the 
virtues or vices committed in this life, nor does the 
soul gain final emancipation till it is freed from its 
subtle body by the knowledge which it acquires through 
its union with nature. 

Even after the soul has obtained complete knowl- 
edge, it resides for a time in the body, " as a potter's 
wheel continues to revolve from the force of the pre- 
vious impulse." This is the Nirvana of Buddha, a 
state of quietude, when perfect knowledge has been 
gained, when all passions have been restrained, all de- 
sires have been checked, and the enlightened soul 
awaits its final emancipation. That separation of soul 
and matter comes at last. Nature ceases to act, as her 
purpose has been accomplished, and the soul obtains 
an abstraction from matter, and both continue to exist 
eternally isolated from each other and independent of 
each other. 

The great fault of Kapila's philosophy as a creed 
for the people was its agnosticism, and the Yoga sys- 
tem of philosophy sought to obviate this defect. The 
Yoga philosophy is ascribed to Patanjali, who probably 
lived in the second century before Christ. All that we 
know of the life and history of Patanjali is that his 
mother was called Gonika, as he himself tells us, and 
that he resided for a certain time in Kashmir, al- 



though he was a native of Gonarda, a place in the 
eastern part of India. His system is contained in his 
Yoga Sutra. In the first chapter of this work yoga 
is derived from yuj, " to join " or " to meditate," and 
this meditation is possible only by the suppression 
of the functions of the mind by constant exercise and 


by dispassion, thus leading to Yoga, conscious or uncon- 

The attainment of this coveted state of mind is ha- 
stened by devotion to Isvara, or God, who is regarded 
as a soul untouched by affliction, works, deserts, and 

Disease, doubt, and worldly-mindedness are obsta- 
cles to the attainment of Yoga, but may be overcome 


by concentration of the mind, by benevolence, by indif- 
ference to happiness or misery, and even by the regula- 
tion of the breath. 

The first exercises in the performance of Yoga are 
asceticism, the muttering of a mantra, and devotion to 
Grod, which overcome all afflictions like ignorance, ego- 
ism, desire, and aversion, or ardent desire to live. These 
are the motives of work (karma), and works must bear 
their fruits in subsequent births, while the object of 
Yoga is to devise means to abstain from works, and so 
to preclude future births. 

We have, then, the Sankhya definition of the soul 
and the intellect; knowledge finally severs the connec- 
tion between the two, and thenceforward the soul is 
free, and an end is put to its reincarnation and its 
suffering. Knowledge passes through seven stages be- 
fore it is perfect, and eight means (which remind one 
of the eightfold path of the Buddhists) are prescribed, 
by which this perfect knowledge can be obtained. The 
first way is abstinence from evil actions, slaughter, 
falsehood, theft, incontinence, and avarice; and the sec- 
ond consists of an obligation to perform certain acts, 
purification, contentment, penance, study, and devotion 
to God. These two means are prescribed for all, house- 
holders and ascetics alike, while the rules for Yogis 
are supplemented by additional duties. The third stage 
is the assumption of special postures for meditation; 
the fourth is regulation of the breath; the fifth is the 
abstraction of the organs from their natural functions; 
and the sixth, seventh, and eighth are steadfastness, 



contemplation, and meditation, which are the essential 
constituents of Yoga itself. When these three are 
united, occult powers are acquired, and through them 
one may know the past and the future, make himself 
invisible to men, observe the details of what is passing 


Copyright by Underwood & Underwood. 

in distant regions or in the stars and planets, converse 
with spirits, travel in the air or through water, and 
acquire various superhuman powers. 

It will thus be seen that as a system of philosophy 
Yoga is valueless; all its fundamental maxims about 
the soul and intellect and sensations, about the trans- 
migration of souls and their eternity and final emanci- 
pation by knowledge, are those of the Sankhya philos- 
ophy. In fact Patanjali tried to blend the idea of a 
Supreme Deity with the philosophy of Kapila; but un- 
fortunately he or his followers mixed up with it much 
of the superstition and the mystic practices of the age, 
while in still later times the philosophy of the Yoga 


system has been completely forgotten, and the system 
has degenerated into cruel and indecent Tantrika rites, 
or into the impostures and superstitions of the so-called 
Yogis of the present day. 



philosopher Gautama was the Aristotle of 
-A- India, and his system of Nyaya is the Hindu logic, 
which is still studied in India along the traditional 
lines, even though the number of teachers and pupils 
is growing less year by year. The date of Gautama is 
not known, but he lived in the Philosophic Period, 
probably a century after Kapila. The Nyaya Sutra, 
which is ascribed to him, is divided into five books, 
each subdivided into two " days," or diurnal lessons, 
and these are again divided into articles, each of which 
consists of a number of Sutras. 

The Nyaya system starts with the subjects to be 
discussed, which are fourteen in number: proof, prob- 
lem, doubt, motive, instance or example, determined 
truth, argument or syllogism, confutation, ascertain- 
ment, controversy, jangling, objection, fallacy, perver- 
sion, futility, and controversy. 

Proof is of four kinds: Perception, inference, anal- 
ogy, and verbal testimony. Cause (karana) is that 
which necessarily precedes an effect, which could not 
be without the cause; and effect (karya) is that which 



necessarily ensues and otherwise could not be. For the 
relation of cause and effect, the connections might be 
twofold simple conjunction (samyoga), and constant 
relation (samavaya). Hence cause may be of three 
kinds: immediate and direct, as the yarn is of cloth; 
mediate or indirect, as the weaving is of cloth; and 
instrumental, as the loom is of cloth. 

The problems are soul, body, the senses, the objects 
of sense, intellect, mind (or the internal organ), produc- 
tion, fault, transmigration, retribution, pain, and eman- 

The soul, which is the seat of knowledge, is different 
in each person, and is separate from the body and the 
senses. Each individual soul is infinite and eternal, and 
transmigrates according to the works performed in life. 
So far we see an agreement with Kapila's philosophy. 
But the Nyaya adds that the Supreme Soul is one, the 
seat of eternal knowledge, and the maker or former of 
all things. The body is earthly, the five external senses 
are also material, and the mind is the organ of the 

Intellect is twofold, including memory and concept. 
A concept is true if derived from clear proof, and is 
wrong if not derived from proof. Similarly, memory 
may be right or wrong. The objects of sense are odour, 
taste, colour, touch, and sound. 

Acts are the causes of virtue or vice, of merit or de- 
merit; and the only motive to them is the hedonistic 
desire to attain pleasure or to avoid pain. 

Transmigration is the passing of the soul to succes- 


sive bodies. Pain is the primary evil, and there are 
twenty-one varieties of evil which are causes of pain. 
The soul attains its emancipation by knowledge and 
not by action. 

The specialty of Nyaya is its development of infer- 
ence by the construction of a true syllogism, which, in 
its Hindu form consists of five parts, which are called 
the proposition, the reason, the instance, the applica- 
tion of the reason, and the conclusion, as may be illus- 
trated by the following example: 

The hill is fiery. 

For it smokes. 

Whatever smokes is fiery. 

The hill is smoking. 

Therefore it is fiery. 

Logic has always been a favourite study with 
learned Hindus, and neither the Ancient Greeks, nor 
the Mediaeval Arabs, nor the European schoolmen of 
the Middle Ages displayed more acuteness and sub- 
tlety in reasoning, or more rigid and scientific strictness 
in their discussions, than is witnessed in the numerous 
works of the Hindus on logic. 

Kanada's atomic philosophy is supplementary to 
Gautama's logic, as the Yoga is supplementary to the 
Sankhya, and therefore need not detain us long. The 
cardinal principle of Kanada is that all material sub- 
stances are aggregates of atoms, whence the name ka- 
ndda, " atom-eater," by which he is known. The atoms 
are eternal, the aggregates only are perishable by dis- 



The first compound is of two atoms; the next con- 
sists of three double atoms, and so on. The mote visible 
in the sunbeam is thus a compound of six atoms. In 
this way two earthly atoms acting under an unseen law 
constitute a double atom of earth; three binary atoms 
constitute a tertiary atom; 
four tertiary atoms make a 
quaternary atom; and so on 
to gross, grosser, and gross- 
est masses of earth. In this 
manner the great earth is 
produced, the great water is 
thus produced from aque- 
ous atoms, great light from 
luminous atoms, and great 
air from aerial atoms. 

Kanada recognizes seven 
categories of objects: substances, quality, action, com- 
munity, particularity, coherence, and non-existence. 

Under the first of these categories, the nine sub- 
stances of Kanada are earth, water, light, air (all eter- 
nal in atoms, but transient and perishable in aggre- 
gates), ether (which transmits sound, and which has no 
atoms, but is infinite, one, and eternal), time, space 
(neither of which is material, and therefore is not 
compounded of atoms), soul, and manas (or the internal 
organ). Light and heat are considered as only different 
forms of the same essential substance. Ether (dkdsa) 
conveys sound; and manas, or the internal organ, is 
supposed to be extremely small, like an atom. 



The second category, quality, embraces seventeen 
varieties or qualities of the nine substances enumerated 
above. The qualities are colour, savour, odour, tangi- 
bility, number, extension, individuality, conjunction, 
disjunction, priority, posteriority, intellections, pleas- 
ure, pain, desire, aversion, and volition. 

The third category, action, is divided into five kinds, 
upward and downward movement, contraction, dilation, 
and general motion. 

The fourth category, community (genus), denotes 
qualities common to many objects, and also, implies 
species. These common qualities and species have a 
real and objective existence, according to Kanada, but 
not according to the Buddhists, who affirm that only 
individuals have existence, and that abstractions are 
unreal conceptions. 

The fifth category, particularity, denotes simple ob- 
jects, devoid of community. They are soul, mind, time, 
place, the ethereal element, and atoms. 

The sixth category, coherence, is connection between 
things which must be connected so long as they exist, 
as yarn and cloth. 

The seventh category, non-existence, is either uni- 
versal or mutual. 

It will be seen from this brief account that the 
Vaisesika system of Kanada, in so far as it is an 
original system, is physics rather than philosophy. It 
was the first attempt made in India to inquire into 
the laws of matter and force, of combination and dis- 


In every system of Hindu Philosophy (except 
Vedantism) matter is supposed to be eternal, and dis- 
tinct from soul. The Vedantists alone regard matter 
as the manifestation of the One Supreme Soul who com- 
prises all and is all. Of this system we shall speak in 
the next chapter. 




WE now come to the last two systems of the philos- 
ophy of the Hindus, the Purva Mimamsa of Jai- 
mini and the Uttara Mimamsa of Badarayana Vyasa. 
To the historian of India they are of the utmost impor- 
tance and value, for the Mimamsa schools represent the 
conservative phase of the Hindu mind at a time when 
philosophers and laymen were alike drifting towards 
agnostic and heterodox opinions. Sankhya philosophy 
led hosts of thinking men away from the teachings of 
the Upanishads on the Universal Soul; and the Bud- 
dhist religion was embraced by many of the lower 
classes as a relief from caste inequalities and elaborate 
Vedic rites. Against this general movement of the day 
the Mimamsa schools made a stand. The Purva Mi- 
mamsa insisted on those Vedic rites and practices which 
later philosophers had come to regard as useless or 
even as unholy; and the Uttara Mimamsa proclaimed 
the doctrine of the Universal Soul which the Upani- 



shads had taught before, and which continues to be the 
cardinal doctrine of Hinduism to this day. 

The controversy, or rather the division in opinion, 
went on for centuries, but orthodoxy prevailed in India 
in the end. The great Kumarila Bhatta, who lived in 
the seventh century after Christ, wrote his celebrated 
Vartika, or commentary on the Purva Mimamsa Sutras, 
and was the most redoubted champion of Hinduism, as 
well as the most uncompromising opponent of Bud- 
dhism. He not only vindicated the ancient rites of the 
Vedas, and inveighed against the heterodox opinions 
of the Buddhists, but he denied them any consideration, 
even when they happened to agree with the Veda. 

The Uttara Mimamsa also had its champion, a man 
greater than Kumarila, the celebrated Sankaracharya, 
who wrote in the first half of the ninth century. 

The Sutras of the Purva Mimamsa are ascribed to 
Jaimini, and are divided into twelve lectures and sub- 
divided into sixty chapters. The first lecture treats of 
the authority of enjoined duty; the varieties of duty, 
supplemental duties, and the purpose of the perform- 
ance of duties are treated in the second, third, and 
fourth lectures. The order of their performance is con- 
sidered in the fifth, and the qualification for their per- 
formance is treated in the sixth. The subject of indi- 
rect precept is treated in chapters seven and eight. 
Inferable changes are discussed in the ninth, and excep- 
tions in the tenth chapter. Efficacy is considered in 
the eleventh chapter, and the work closes with a dis- 
cussion of co-ordinate effect in the twelfth chapter. 


The Purva Mimamsa philosophy was, however, 
merely a philosophy of Vedic rites, and a supplemen- 
tary system of philosophy was therefore required, this 
want being supplied by the Uttara Mimamsa or Ve- 
danta. It is the Vedanta which tells us of the Su- 
preme Being, the Universal Soul, the Pervading Breath, 
as the Purva Mimamsa speaks of rites and sacrifices. 
The Vedanta is the direct outcome of the Upanishads, 
as the Purva Mimamsa is the outcome of the Brah- 
manas, and the two schools of Mimamsa taken to- 
gether represent orthodox Vedic Hinduism, both in 
its rites and observances, and in its belief. The two 
schools taken together were an answer to Buddhist 
heretics who ignored Vedic rites and denied a Su- 
preme Being, as well as to the agnostic Sankhya system 
of philosophy, and to other systems which proclaimed 
the eternity of matter, and thus, when combined, they 
form the basis of true Hinduism. The great text-book 
of the Vedanta is the Sariraka Mimamsa Sutra, or 
Brahma Sutra, which is attributed to Badarayana 
Vyasa, and which cannot have been compiled very long 
before the Christian Era. 

The Vedanta adopts the syllogism of the Nyaya sys- 
tem, with the obvious improvement of reducing its five 
members to three, as in the syllogism of Aristotle. 

Badarayana 's Brahma Sutra is divided into four 
lectures, and each lecture is subdivided into four chap- 
ters. It opens precisely as the Purva Mimamsa, an- 
nouncing its purport in the very same terms, except 
that it substitutes Brahma, or G-od, for Dharma, or 


Duty. The author then confutes the Sankhya doctrine 
that Nature is the material cause of the universe, and 
declares that a sentient rational Being is the material 
as well as the efficient First Cause of the universe. 

The second lecture continues the confutation of 
Kapila's Sankhya philosophy, as well as of Patanjali's 
Yoga system and Kanada's atomic theory. All the 
universe is rigidly assigned to Brahma, who is the 
Cause and the Effect. 

The soul is active, not passive as the Sankhyas 
maintain, although its activity is merely adventitious, 
and it is in reality a portion of the Supreme Ruler, 
while the corporeal organs and the vital actions are all 
modifications of Brahma. 

The third lecture treats of transmigration of souls, 
of the attainment of knowledge, of final emancipation, 
and of the attributes of the Supreme Being. The soul 
transmigrates, invested with a subtle body, from one 
state to another. Departing from one body, it expe- 
riences the recompense of its works, and returns to 
occupy a new body with the resulting influence of its 
former deeds. 

The Supreme Being is impassable, unaffected by 
worldly modifications, as the clear crystal, seemingly 
coloured by the hibiscus flower, is really pellucid. He 
is pure Sense, Intellect, Thought. 

The reader will perceive that the Yedanta philos- 
ophy is a direct and legitimate result of the Upani- 
shads, and the idea of unity is carried to its extreme 
limit in the Vedanta as in the Upanishads. 


The second half of this lecture relates to devout ex- 
ercises and pious meditation, which are necessary for 
the reception of divine knowledge. 

The fourth and last lecture relates to the fruit of 
pious meditations properly conducted, and the attain- 
ment of divine knowledge. So soon as that knowledge 
is attained, past sins are annulled and future sins are 
precluded. In like manner the effects of merit and vir- 
tue are also annulled. And " having annulled by frui- 
tion other works which had begun to have effect, 
having enjoyed the recompense and suffered the pains 
of good and bad actions, the possessor of divine knowl- 
edge, on the demise of the body, proceeds to a re-union 
with Brahma." This, as we know, is the final beati- 
tude taught by the Upanishads. 

There are two other less perfect forms of emancipa- 
tion. One of them qualifies the soul for reception at 
Brahma's abode, but not for immediate re-union and 
identity with his being. The other is still less perfect, 
and is called Jivanmukti, which can be acquired in the 
present life by Yogis, and enables them to perform 
supernatural acts, such as evoking the shades of fore- 
fathers, assuming different bodies, and going immedi- 
ately to any place at pleasure. 

The attributes of God, according to the Yedanta phi- 
losophy, have thus been recapitulated by Colebrooke in 
his " Philosophy of the Hindus ": " God is the om- 
niscient and omnipotent cause of the existence, contin- 
uance, and dissolution of the universe. Creation is an 
act of His will. He is both efficient and material cause 


of the world, creator and nature, framer and frame, doer 
and deed. At the consummation of all things, all are 
resolved into Him. The Supreme Being is one, sole 
existent, secondless, entire, without parts, sempiternal, 
infinite, ineffable, invariable, ruler of all, universal soul, 
truth, wisdom, intelligence, happiness." 

Such are the six systems of philosophy which were 
developed in India in the Philosophic Period; such are 
the answers which Hindu philosophers have given to 
the questions which were started in the Upanishads, to 
questions which rise in the mind of every reflective 
man, but which it is not given to him to answer com- 
pletely What is God, and what is man? 

Summed up as a whole, this rationalistic period of 
philosophy and laws was rich in results of which every 
Hindu may be proud. Besides producing the first re- 
corded systems of mental philosophy and logic, and 
codifying a body of civil and criminal law, it developed 
the infant sciences of geometry and grammar. The ad- 
ministration of government was perfected in the latter 
part of this period and the whole of Northern India was 
brought under a single great ruler. And, lastly, it was 
in this period that the great reformer Gautama Bud- 
dha proclaimed that religion of equality and brother- 
hood of man which is at the present day the living faith 
of one-third of the human race. To the story of that 
great revolution we now turn. 



IN the sixth century before Christ, India witnessed 
the commencement of a great revolution. Her 
ancient religion, which the Hindu Aryans had practised 
and proclaimed for fourteen centuries, had degenerated 
into forms. The gods of the Rig- Veda, whom the 
ancient Rishis had invoked and worshipped, had come 
to be regarded as mere names; the libations of the 
Soma juice, and offerings of milk, grain, or flesh, which 
the Rishis of old had offered to their gods, had de- 
veloped into cumbrous ceremonials, elaborate rites, un- 
meaning forms. The descendants or successors of those 
Rishis had now stepped forth as a powerful and 
hereditary caste, and claimed the right to perform 
elaborate religious rites and utter sacred prayers for 
the people. The people were taught to believe that 
they earned merit by having these rites performed and 
these prayers uttered by hired priests. The religious 
instinct which had inspired the composers of the Vedic 
hymns was dead, and vast ceremonials alone remained. 
But a reaction had taken place. About the eleventh 
century before Christ, five centuries before the time of 



which we are now speaking, earnest and thoughtful 
Hindus had ventured to go beyond the rituals of the 
Brahmana literature, and had inquired into the mys- 
teries of the soul and its Creator. The composers of 
the Upanishads had conceived the bold idea that all 
animate and inanimate nature proceeded from one uni- 
versal deity, and were portions of one pervading soul. 
Inquiries were made into the mysteries of death and 
the future world, conjectures were made about the 
transmigration of souls, and doctrines were started con- 
taining in a crude form the salient principles of later 
Hindu philosophy. 

Few, however, could devote their lives to these spec- 
ulations and the abstruse ' philosophy which they in- 
volved. The mass of the Aryan householders Brah- 
mans, Kshatriyas, and Vaisy as contented themselves 
with performing the rites, unintelligible to them, 
which the Brahmanas had laid down and the Sutras 
had condensed. 

For the Sudras, who had come under the domina- 
tion of the Aryan religion, there was no religious in- 
struction, no religious observance, no social respect. 
Despised and degraded in the very community in 
which they were forced to live, they sighed for a 
change, and as they increased in number, pursued va- 
rious useful industries, owned lands and villages, and 
gained in influence and power, they became more and 
more conscious of the unbearable conditions to which 
they were condemned. 

To an earnest and inquisitive mind, to a sympa- 


tlietic and benevolent soul, there was something anom- 
alous in all this. Gautama of the Sakya race was 
versed in the Hindu learning and religion of the age, 
but he pondered and asked if what he had learnt could 
be efficacious or true. His soul rebelled against the 
distinctions between man and man; and his benevolent 
heart longed for a means to help the humble, the op- 
pressed, and the lowly. The ceremonials and rites 
which householders practised appeared as vain and 
fruitless to him as the penances and mortifications 
which hermits voluntarily underwent in forests. The 
beauty of a holy and a sinless life of benevolence be- 
came to him as the perfection of human destiny, and 
with the earnest conviction of a prophet and a re- 
former he proclaimed this as the essence of religion, 
inviting the poor and lowly to end their sufferings by 
cultivating virtue, by eschewing passions and evil de- 
sire, and by spreading brotherly love and universal 
peace. The Brahman and the Sudra, the high and the 
low, were the same in his eyes; each and all could effect 
their salvation by a holy life, and he invited every man 
to embrace his creed of love. Mankind responded to 
the appeal, and Buddhism in the course of a few cen- 
turies became the prevailing faith, not of a sect or a 
country, but of the continent of Asia. 

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to suppose that 
Gautama Buddha consciously set himself up as the 
founder of a new religion. On the contrary, he believed 
to the last that he was proclaiming only the pure and 
ancient religion which had prevailed among the Hin- 



dus, but which had been corrupted at a later day. 
Hinduism itself recognized wandering bodies of ascet- 
ics who renounced the world, performed no Vedic rites, 
and passed their days in contemplation. Such bodies 
were popularly termed Sramans. Gautama founded only 
one sect of Sramans among many sects which then 
existed, and his sect was known as that of the Sakya- 
putriya Sramans, to distinguish them from others. He 
taught them renunciation of the world, a holy life, and 
pious meditation, such as all sects of Sramans recom- 
mended and practised. 

Gautama's holy and pious life, his universal sym- 
pathy, his unsurpassed moral precepts, his gentle and 
beautiful character, stamped themselves on his teach- 
ings, which were not altogether new, gathered round 
him the meek and lowly, the gentlest and best of the 
Aryans, converted kings on their thrones and peasants 
in their cots, and united sect and caste in a communion 
of love. And the sacred recollections of his life and 
teachings remained long after he had passed away, 
uniting the community which cherished his teachings, 
and in course of time giving his doctrines the char- 
acter of a distinct religion. 

Inspired by his love of purity and a holy, gentle 
life, Gautama eschewed the rites of the Vedas and the 
penances of ascetics alike, insisting only on self -culture, 
on benevolence, on pious resignation. This is what 
has made Buddhism a living and life-giving religion, 
when so many rival forms of asceticism have withered 
away and died. 


In its historical development, Buddhism became 
divided into two great sects, so that the forms of Bud- 
dhism prevailing in Nepal and Tibet, China and Japan, 
are called Northern Buddhism, while the older and 
purer forms prevailing in Ceylon and Burma are termed 
Southern Buddhism. The Northern Buddhists furnish 
us with scanty materials directly illustrating the 
religion in its earliest form in India, for they embraced 
Buddhism some centuries after the Christian Era, and 
the works which they then obtained from India do not 
represent the earliest form of Hindu Buddhism. The 
Lalita Vistara, a most important work of the Northern 
Buddhists, is only a gorgeous poem, composed prob- 
ably in Nepal in the second or third or fourth cen- 
tury after Christ, although it contains passages the 
Gathas which are of much older date. In China, 
Buddhism was introduced from the first century after 
Christ, but did not become the state religion until 
the fourth century, and the works on Buddhism 
which were then carried by Chinese pilgrims from 
India from century to century, and translated into the 
Chinese language, do not illustrate the earliest phase 
of Buddhism in India. Buddhism spread to Japan in 
the sixth century, and to Tibet in the seventh cen- 
tury after Christ, although the latter country has drifted 
far from primitive Hindu Buddhism, and has adopted 
forms and ceremonies which were unknown to Gau- 
tama and his followers. 

The date of Buddha's death was for a long time 
believed to be 543 B.C.; but it is now generally ac- 


cepted that the great reformer died about 487 (or 
477) B. c., having been born about 567 (or 557) B. c. 
A council of five hundred monks was held in Raja- 
griha, the capital of Magadha, immediately after his 
death, and together they chanted the sacred laws, so 
as to fix them on their memory. A hundred years 
later, in 377 B. c., a second council was held in Vaisali, 
mainly for the discussion and settlement of ten ques- 
tions on which difference of opinion had arisen. A 
hundred and thirty-five years after this, the great 
Asoka, King of the Magadhas, held a third council in 
Patna about 242 B. c., to determine upon the religious 
works, or Pitakas. 1 Through the preaching of this 
monarch's son, Mahinda, a Buddhist whose zeal led 
him to send- missionaries to Ceylon and even to foreign 
countries, Syria, Macedon, and Egypt, to preach the 
religion, Ceylon embraced Buddhism in the third cen- 
tury B. c. About a hundred and fifty years after this 
the Pitakas were formally reduced to writing, and thus 
we have the most authentic account of the earliest form 
of Buddhism in Magadha in the Pali Pitakas of Ceylon. 
These facts will show that the three Pitakas of the 
Southern Buddhists can claim a date anterior to 
242 B. c., for no work which could not claim a respect- 
able antiquity was included as canonical by the Coun- 
cil of Patna, and there is internal evidence in the 
Vinaya Pitaka for the hypothesis that the main por- 
tions of that Pitaka were settled before the Vaisali 
Council in 377 B.C. 

1 On the question of the latter date, see vol. ii, p 139. 


In the Scriptures of the Southern Buddhists we 
thus have reliable materials for the history of India 
for the centuries immediately after the time of Gau- 
tama Buddha, while they give a more consistent and 
a less exaggerated account of the life and work and 
teachings of Buddha himself than anything which the 
Northern Buddhists can supply. 

The three Pitakas are known as the Sutta Pitaka, 
the Vinaya Pitaka, and the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The 
works comprised in the Sutta Pitaka profess to record 
the sayings and doings of Gautama Buddha himself. 
Gautama is the actor and the speaker in the earliest 
works of this Pitaka, and teaches his doctrines in his 
own words, although occasionally one of his disciples 
is the instructor, and there are short introductions to 
indicate where and when Gautama or his disciple 

The Vinaya Pitaka contains very minute rules, 
often on the most trivial subjects, for the conduct 
of monks and nuns, the Bhikkhus and the Bhikkhunis 
who had embraced the holy order. Gautama respected 
the lay disciple, but he held that to embrace the Holy 
Order was a quicker path to salvation. As the number 
of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis multiplied, it was necessary 
to fix elaborate rules, often on very minute subjects, 
for their proper conduct and behaviour in the Vihara, 
or monastery. As Gautama lived for nearly half a 
century after he had proclaimed his religion, there can 
be no doubt that he himself settled many of these 
rules, but, at the same time, it is equally certain that 


many of them grew up after Ms death, although they 
are all attributed in the Vinaya Pitaka to the direct 
order of the Blessed One himself. 

And lastly, the Abhidhamma Pitaka contains dis- 
quisitions on various subjects, such as the conditions 
of life in different worlds, personal qualities, the ele- 
ments, and the causes of existence. 

Gautama, disregarding the precedent set by all 
classical writers and thinkers in India, preached his 
doctrine and morality to the people of India, not in 
Sanskrit, but in their own vernacular, and the Chulla- 
vagga accordingly says: " There were two brothers, 
Bhikkhus, by name Yamelu and Tekula, Brahmans 
by birth, excelling in speech, excelling in pronuncia- 
tion." And they went up to Gautama and said, " At 
the present time, Lord, Bhikkhus differing in name, 
differing in lineage, differing in birth, differing in fam- 
ily, have gone forth. These corrupt the word of the 
Buddhas by their own dialect. Let us, Lord, put the 
word of the Buddhas into Sanskrit verse." 

But Gautama would have none of this; he worked 
for the humble and the lowly, his message was for the 
people, and he wished it to be conveyed to them in 
their own tongue. " You are not, O Bhikkhus, to 
put the word of the Buddhas into (Sanskrit) verse. 
I allow you, O Bhikkhus, to learn the word of the 
Buddhas each in his own tongue." 



IN the sixth century before Christ, the kingdom of 
Magadha was rising to power and greatness. The 
realm, corresponding to the modern South Bihar, ex- 
tended to the south of the Ganges, and on either side 
of the Son Eiver. North of the Ganges it had a power- 
ful rival in the haughty confederation of the Lich- 
chhavis. Rajagriha, to the south of the Ganges, was 
the capital of Bimbisara, King of the Magadhas; and 
Vaisali, to the north of the Ganges, was the capital 
of the Lichchhavis. To the east lay the kingdom of 
Anga, or East Bihar, which is mentioned in connection 
with Magadha, and Champa was the capital of Anga. 
Far to the northwest lay the ancient kingdom of the 
Kosalas, and its capital had been removed from Ayo- 
dhya farther northwards to the flourishing town of 
Sravasti, where Prasenajit reigned at the time of which 
we are speaking. The equally ancient country of the 
Kasis, lying to the south, seems to have been subject at 
this time to the King of Sravasti, and a viceroy of 
Prasenajit ruled at Benares. 

A little to the east of the Kosala kingdom, two 



kindred clans, the Sakyas and the Koliyans, lived on 
the opposite banks of the small stream Rohini, and 
enjoyed a sort of precarious independence, more 
through the jealousies of the rival kings of Magadha 
and Kosala than by their own power. Kapilavastu 
was the capital of the Sakyas, who were then living in 
peace with the Koliyans, and Suddhodana, chief of the 
Sakyas, had married two daughters of the chief of 
the Koliyans. 

Neither queen bore a child to Suddhodana for many 
years, and the hope of leaving an heir to the princi- 
pality of the Sakyas was well-nigh abandoned. At last, 
however, the elder queen promised her husband an 
heir, and, according to ancient custom, left for her 
father's house, that her child might be born there. On 
her way, however, she gave birth to a son in the pleas- 
ant grove of Lumbini. The mother and the child were 
carried back to Kapilavastu, where the former died 
seven days after, leaving the child to be nursed by his 
stepmother and aunt, the younger queen. 

The boy was named Siddhartha, but Gautama was 
his family name. He belonged to the Sakya tribe, and 
is therefore often called Sakyasimha, " Lion of the 
Sakyas; " and when he had proclaimed his new faith, 
he was called Buddha, or the " Awakened " or " En- 

Little is known of the early life of Gautama, except 
that he married his cousin Subhadhra, or Yasodhara, 
daughter of the chief of Koli, when he was about eight- 
een years of age. Ten years later, however, he re- 


solved to leave his home and his wife to study philos- 
ophy and religion. In the midst of his prosperity, 
position, and wealth, he felt a secret yearning after 
something higher, which neither wealth nor position 
could satisfy; and an irresistible desire to seek for 
a remedy for the sufferings of men arose in his heart 
even amid the luxuries of his palace home. It is said 
that the sight of a decrepit old man, of a sick man, 
of a decaying corpse, and of a dignified hermit led him 
to form his resolution to quit his home. The story, 
whether well-founded or not, represents in a concrete 
shape the thoughts that arose in his mind with regard 
to the woes of a worldly life, and the holy calm of a 
retired existence. 

At this very time a son was born to him, but it is 
said that when the news was announced to him in a 
garden on the riverside, he only exclaimed, " This is 
a new, strong tie that I shall have to break." 

That night he repaired to the threshold of his wife's 
chamber, and there by the light of the flickering lamp 
he gazed on a scene of perfect bliss. The young mother 
lay surrounded by flowers, with one hand on the in- 
fant's head. A yearning arose in his heart to take the 
babe in his arms for the last time before relinquishing 
all earthly bliss, but this he might not do, lest the 
mother awake and by her importunities and tears 
unnerve his heart and shake his resolution. Silently 
he tore himself away from the blissful sight, and in 
that one eventful moment, in the silent darkness of 
the night, he renounced for ever his wealth and posi- 


He ia seated on the Mucalinda Serpent in an attitude of profound meditation, with eyes 
half-closed, and five rays of light emerging from the crown of his head. 


tion and power, his proud rank and his princely fame, 
the love of his young wife and of his sleeping babe, 
being determined to become a poor student and a home- 
less wanderer. He rode quietly out of the city, accom- 
panied only by his faithful servant, named Channa, 
who asked to be allowed to stay with him and become 
an ascetic, but Gautama sent him back, and repaired 
alone to Kajagriha, which lay in a valley surrounded 
by five hills. Some Brahman ascetics lived in the caves 
of these hills, sufficiently far from the town for study 
and contemplation, and yet sufficiently near to obtain 
supplies. Gautama attached himself first to one and, 
then to another, and learnt from them all that Hindu 
philosophers had to teach. 

Not content with this learning, he retired to the 
jungles of Uruvela, near the site of the present temple 
of Bodh Gaya, and for six years, attended by five 
disciples, he gave himself up to the severest penances 
and self -mortification. His fame spread far and wide, 
yet he did not obtain the emancipation that he sought, 
and, despairing of deriving any profit from penance, 
he abandoned it. 

Deserted then by his disciples, Gautama wandered 
alone towards the banks of the Niranjara, received his 
morning meal from the hands of Sujata, the daughter 
of a villager, and sat himself down under the famous 
Bo-tree, or the tree of wisdom. Here he was tempted 
by Mara, the evil spirit, and many legends relate the 
circumstances and details of this successful struggle 
with temptation. Long he sat in contemplation, and 


the scenes of his past life came thronging into his 
mind, until the doubts cleared away like mists in the 
morning and the daylight of truth flashed before his 
eyes. He had made no new discovery, he had acquired 
no new knowledge. Self -culture and universal love 
this was his discovery, this is the essence of Buddhism, 
and his pious nature and benevolent heart told him that 
a holy life and an all-embracing love were the panacea 
to all evils. 

Gautama's old teacher Alara was dead, and he 
therefore went to Benares to proclaim the truth to his 
five former disciples. In the cool of the evening he 
entered the Deer Park in the holiest city of India, and 
there found the followers who had deserted him. To 
them he explained his new tenets: 

" There are two extremes, O Bhikkhus, which the 
man who has given up the world ought not to follow: 
the habitual practice, on the one hand, of those things 
whose attraction depends upon the passions, and spe- 
cially of sensuality, a low and pagan way, unworthy, 
unprofitable, and fit only for the worldly-minded; and 
the habitual practice, on the other hand, of asceticism, 
which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable. 

" There is a middle path, Bhikkhus, avoiding 
these two extremes, discovered by the Tathagata (Bud- 
dha), a path which opens the eyes and bestows under- 
standing, which leads to peace of mind, to the higher 
wisdom, to full enlightenment, to Nirvana! ' 

And then he explained to them the four truths con- 
cerning suffering, the cause of suffering, the destruc- 


tion of suffering, and the way which leads to such de- 
struction of suffering. 

It is needless to say that the five former disciples 
were soon converted, and became the first members 
of the Order, and within five months after his arrival 
at Benares Gautama had sixty followers. He now 
called them together and sent them out in different 
directions to preach the truth for the salvation of man- 
kind. "Go ye now, O Bhikkhus, and wander, for the 
gain of the many, for the welfare of the many, out of 
compassion for the world, for the good, for the gain, 
for the welfare of gods and men. Let not two of you 
go the same way. Preach, Bhikkhus, the doctrine 
which is glorious in the beginning, glorious in the mid- 
dle, glorious in the end, in the spirit, and in the letter; 
proclaim a consummate, perfect, and pure life of holi- 


Gautama himself went to Uruvela, where he 
achieved distinguished success by converting three 
brothers named Kasyapa, who worshipped fire in the 
Vedic form, and had high reputation as hermits and 
philosophers. This event created a sensation, and 
Gautama, with his new disciples and a thousand fol- 
lowers, walked towards Rajagriha, the capital of Ma- 
gadha. Tidings of the new prophet soon reached the 
king, and Seniya Bimbisara, surrounded by numbers 
of Brahmans and Vaisyas, went to visit Gautama, only 
to declare himself an adherent of Gautama and invite 
him to take his meal with him the next day. 

The saintly wanderer accordingly went, an hon- 


oured guest, to the palace of the king, and the entire 
population of the capital of Magadha thronged to see 
the great preacher of the religion of love, who had 
suddenly appeared in the land. The king then assigned 
a bamboo grove (Veluvana) close by for the residence 
of Gautama and his followers, and there Gautama 
rested for some time, shortly afterward gaining two 
distinguished converts, Sariputra and Moggallana. 

The fame of Gautama had now travelled to his 
native town, and his old father expressed a desire to 
see him once before he died. Gautama accordingly 
went to Kapilavastu, but, according to custom, re- 
mained in the grove outside the town. His father and 
relations came to see him there; .and the next day 
Gautama himself went into the town, begging alms 
from the people who had once adored him as their 
beloved prince and master. 

The king took his son into the palace, where all 
the members of the family came to greet him except 
his wife. The deserted Yasodhara, with a wife's grief 
and a wife's pride, exclaimed, " If I am of any value 
in his eyes, he will himself come; I can welcome him 
better here." Gautama understood this and went to 
her, attended by only two disciples; and when Yaso- 
dhara saw him enter, a recluse with shaven head and 
yellow robes, her heart failed her, she flung herself 
on the ground, held his feet, and burst into tears. 
Then, remembering the impassable gulf between them, 
she rose and stood aside. She listened to his new 
doctrines, and when Gautama was subsequently in- 


duced to establish an order of female mendicants, she 
was one of the first to become a Buddhist nun. Gau- 
tama's son, Rahula, also became a convert later. The 
king, his grandfather, was much aggrieved at this, 
because the celibate tendencies of the religion threat- 
ened the royal line with extinction, and asked Gautama 
to establish a rule that no one should be admitted to 
the Order without his parents' consent. Gautama con- 
sented to this and made a rule accordingly. 

On his way back to Rajagriha, Gautama stopped 
for some time at Anupiya, " a town belonging to the 
Mallas," and while he was stopping there, he made 
many converts both from the Koliyan and from the 
Sakya tribe, some of whom deserve special mention. 
Anuruddha, the Sakya, went to his mother and asked 
to be allowed to enter the houseless state. His mother 
did not know how to stop him, and so told him, " If, 
beloved Anuruddha, Bhaddiya, the Sakya Raja, will 
renounce the world, thou also mayest go forth into the 
houseless state." 

Anuruddha accordingly went to Bhaddiya, and it 
was decided that they would embrace the Order in 
seven days. " So Bhaddiya, the Sakya Raja, and Anu- 
ruddha and Ananda and Bhagu and Kimbila and Deva- 
datta, just as they had so often previously gone out to 
the pleasure-ground with fourfold array, even so did 
they now go out with fourfold array, and Upali the 
barber went with them, making seven in all. 

" And when they had gone some distance, they sent 
their retinue back and crossed over to the neighbour- 



ing district, and took off their rich garments and 
wrapped them in their robes and made a bundle of 
them, and said to Upali the barber, l Do you now, 
Upali, turn back. These things will be sufficient for 
you to live upon.' " But Upali was of a different mind, 


and so all the seven went to Gautama and became con- 
verts. And when Bhaddiya had retired into solitude 
he exclaimed over and over, " O happiness! happi- 
ness! " and on being asked the cause, he said: 

" Formerly, Lord, when I was a king, I had a guard 
completely provided both within and without my pri- 
vate apartments, both within and without the town, 
and within the borders of my country. Yet though, 


Lord, I was thus guarded and protected, I was fearful, 
anxious, distrustful, and alarmed. But now, Lord, 
even when in the forest at the foot of a tree, in soli- 
tude, I am without fear or anxiety, trustful, and not 
alarmed; I dwell at ease, subdued, secure, with my 
mind as peaceful as an antelope." 

We have narrated this story because some of the 
converts, spoken of here, rose to distinction. Ananda 
became the most intimate friend of Gautama, and 
after his death led a band of five hundred monks 
in chanting the Dharma in the Council of Rajagriha. 
Upali, though a barber by birth, became an eminent 
member of the Holy Order, and was recognized as an 
authority in matters connected with Vinaya. Anu- 
ruddha lived to become the greatest master of Abhi- 
damma, or metaphysics, but Devadatta, a cousin to the 
Buddha, subsequently became the rival and opponent 
of Gautama, and is even said to have advised Ajatasa- 
tru, the Prince of Magadha, to kill his own father 
Bimbasara, and then attempted to kill Gautama him- 
self. Such at least is the orthodox Buddhist tradition. 1 

After spending his second vassa, or rainy season, in 
Rajagriha, Gautama repaired to Sravasti, the capital of 
the Kosalas, where Prasenajit reigned as king. A wood 
called Jetavana was presented to the Buddhists, and 
there Gautama often preached. 

The third vassa was also passed in Rajagriha, and 
in the fourth year from the date of his proclaiming his 
creed Gautama crossed the Ganges, went to Vaisali, 

1 For an account of this tradition see vol. ii, pp. 30-32. 


and stopped in the Mahavana grove, but in the follow- 
ing year he again repaired to Kapilavastu, and was 
present at the death of his father, then ninety-seven 
years of age. 

His widowed stepmother Prajapati Grant ami, and his 
hardly less widowed wife Yasodhara, had now no ties 
to bind them to the world, and insisted on joining the 
Order established by Gautama. The sage had not yet 
admitted women to the Order, and was reluctant to do 
so, but his mother was inexorable and followed him to 
Vaisali, begging to be admitted. 

Ananda pleaded her cause, but Gautama still replied, 
" Enough, Ananda! Let it not please thee that women 
should be allowed to do so." But Ananda persisted, 
and asked: 

" Are women, Lord, capable when they have gone 
forth from the household life and entered the homeless 
state, under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by 
the Blessed One are they capable of realizing the fruit 
of conversion or of the second path or of Arhatship? r 

There could be only one reply to this. Honour to 
women has ever been a part of religion in India, and 
salvation and heaven are not barred to them by the 
Hindu religion. " They are capable, Ananda,'' replied 
the sage, whereupon they were admitted to the Order 
as Bhikkhunis under some rules making them strictly 
subordinate to the Bhikkhus. 

In the sixth year, after spending the rainy season 
at Kosambi, near Prayaga, Gautama returned to Raja- 
griha, and Kshema, the Queen of Bimbisara, was ad- 


mitted to the Order, while in the same year he is said 
to have performed miracles at Sravasti, and to have 
gone to heaven to teach the Law to his mother, who had 
died seven days after his birth. 

In the twelfth year of his ministry Buddha under- 
took the longest journey he had ever made, going to 
Mantala and returning by Benares, and then preaching 
the famous Maha Rahula Sutta to his son Rahula, then 
eighteen years old. Two years after, Rahula, being 
twenty, was formally admitted into the Order, and the 
Rahula Sutta was preached. 

In the fifteenth year from the date of his proclaim- 
ing his creed, he again visited Kapilavastu, and ad- 
dressed a discourse to his cousin Mahanama, who had 
followed Bhadraka, the successor of Suddhodana, as 
the king of the Sakyas. 

In the seventeenth year he delivered a discourse 
on the death of Srimati, a courtesan; in the next year 
he comforted a weaver who had accidentally killed his 
daughter; in the following year he released a deer 
caught in a snare and converted the angry hunter who 
had wished to shoot him; and in the twentieth year he 
converted the famous robber Angulimala of the Chaliya 

For twenty-five years more Gautama wandered 
through the Ganges valley, preaching benevolence and 
holiness to the poor and humble, making converts 
among the high and the low, the rich and the poor, 
and proclaiming his law throughout the length and 
breadth of the land. He was now eighty years of age. 


Most of those whom he had known in his early days 
were dead, and the aged saint preached to sons and 
grandsons the same holy law which he had proclaimed 
to their sires and grandsires, but the faithful Ananda 
still accompanied him like his shadow, and ministered 
to his wants. The old King of Rajagriha was no more; 
his warlike and ambitious son Ajatasatru had ascended 
the throne of Magadha it is said by murdering his 
father and was now maturing schemes of conquest. 
It was no part of Ajatasatru's policy to offend so popu- 
lar and widely respected a person as Gautama, and, 
outwardly at least, Ajatasatru honoured the reformer. 

The powerful Vrijjian clans who occupied the plains 
on the northern shore of the Ganges, opposite to Ma- 
gadha, first attracted Ajatasatru's attention. They 
were a Turanian tribe who had entered into India 
through the northern mountains and had established 
a republican form of government in the very centre of 
Hindu civilization, threatening the conquest of all 

Gautama was then residing in the Vulture's Peak 
(Gridhrakuta) , a cave on the side of the loftiest of the 
five hills overlooking the beautiful valley of Rajagriha. 
Ajatasatru, who was not without some kind of super- 
stitious faith in prophecies, sent his prime minister 
Vassakara to Gautama to inquire how his expedition 
against the Vrijjians would end. Gautama was no 
respecter of kings, and replied that so long as the 
Vrijjians remained united in their adherence to their 
ancient customs they would not decline, but prosper. 


From the Vulture's Peak Gautama wandered to 
neighbouring places to Ambalathika, to Nalanda, and 
to Pataligrama, the site of the future capital of Ma- 
gadha, Pataliputra. At the time of Gautama it was 
an insignificant village, but Sunidha and Vassakara, 
the chief ministers of Ajatasatru, were building a for- 
tress there to repel the Vrijjians. Such, according to 
some accounts, was the origin of the town which became 
the capital of Chandragupta and Asoka, and was the 
metropolis of India for nearly a thousand years, and 
which, under the name of Patna, is still one of the 
largest cities in India. Gautama is said to have visited 
it upon invitation of the ministers and to have prophe- 
sied the greatness of the place, saying to Ananda: 
" Among famous places of residence and haunts of busy 
men, this will become the chief, the city of Pataliputra, 
a centre for the interchange of all kinds of wares." 
Leaving Pataligrama, Buddha went to Kotigrama, and 
then to Nadika, where he rested in the " brick hall," 
which was a resting-place for travellers. There he 
taught Ananda the lesson that each disciple could ascer- 
tain for himself whether he had attained salvation. 
If he felt within himself that he had faith in the 
Buddha, that he had faith in the Law, that he had 
faith in the Order, then he was saved, and thus Buddha, 
the Law (Dharma), and the Congregation (Sdngha) 
became the triad of the Buddhists. 

From Nadika, Gautama went to Vaisali, the capital 
of the powerful confederacy of the Lichchhavis to the 
north of the Ganges. Ambapali, a courtesan, heard 


that the saint was stopping in her mango grove and 
came and invited him to a meal, and Gautama ac- 
cepted the invitation. 

From Ambapali's grove, Gautama went to Beluva. 
He felt his end approaching, and said to the faithful 
Ananda, " I am now grown old and full of years, my 
journey is drawing to its close, I have reached the sum 
of my days, I am turning eighty years of age. . . . 
Therefore, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Be ye a refuge 
to yourselves. Betake yourselves to no external ref- 
uge. Hold fast to the truth as a lamp. Hold fast 
as a refuge to the truth. " 

At Kutagara, Gautama once more proclaimed to 
his followers the substance and essence of his religion, 
and enjoined upon them to practise it, to meditate 
upon it, and to spread it abroad, " in order that pure 
religion may last long and be perpetuated, in order that 
it may continue to be for the good and the happiness 
of great multitudes. " 

Having paid his last visit to Vaisali, Gautama then 
wandered through the villages of Bhandagrama, Hasti- 
grama, Ambagrama, Jambugrama, and Bhoganagara, 
and then went to Pava. There Chunda, a goldsmith 
and blacksmith, invited him to a meal, and gave him 
sweet rice and cakes and a quantity of dried boar's 
flesh. Gautama never refused the poor man's offering, 
but the boar's flesh did not agree with him. " Now 
when the Blessed One had eaten the food prepared by 
Chunda, the worker in metal, there fell upon him a dire 
sickness, the disease of dysentery, and sharp pain came 


upon him even unto death. But the Blessed One, mind- 
ful and self-possessed, bore it without complaint." 

On his way from Pava to Kusinagara, Gautama 
converted a low-caste man Pukkusa. At Kusinagara, 
eighty miles due east from Kapilavastu, Gautama felt 
that his death was nigh. With that loving anxiety 
which had characterized all his life, he tried on the eve 
of his death to impress on his followers that Chunda 
was not to blame for the food he had supplied, but that 
the humble smith's act, kindly meant, would redound 
to length of life, to good birth, and to good fortune. 

It is said that just before his death the trees were in 
bloom out of season, and sprinkled flowers on him; that 
heavenly flowers and sandalwood powder descended on 
him, and that music and heavenly songs were wafted 
from the sky. But the great apostle of holy life said, 
"It is not thus, Ananda, that the Tathagata (Buddha) 
is rightly honoured, reverenced, venerated, held sacred, 
or revered. But the brother or the sister, the devout 
man or the devout woman, who continually fulfils all 
the greater and the lesser duties, who is correct in life, 
walking according to precepts it is he who rightly 
honours, reverences, venerates, holds sacred, and re- 
veres the Tathagata with the worthiest homage." 

On the night of Gautama's death, Subhadra, a 
Brahman philosopher of Kusinagara, came to ask 
some questions, but Ananda, fearing that this might 
be wearisome to the dying sage, would not admit him. 
Gautama, however, had overheard their conversation, 
and he would not turn back a man who had come for 



instruction. He ordered the Brahman to be admitted, 
and with his dying breath explained to him the prin- 
ciples of his religion. Subhadra was the last disciple 
whom G-autama converted, and shortly after, at the last 
watch of the night, the great sage departed this life, 
with the exhortation to his brother men still on his 


lips, " Decay is inherent in all component things; work 
out your salvation with diligence." 

The body of G-autama was cremated by the Mallas 
of Kusinagara, who surrounded his bones " in their 
council-hall with a lattice-work of spears and with a 
rampart of bows; and there, for seven days, they paid 
honour and reverence and respect and homage to them 
with dance and song and music, and with garlands 
and perfumes." 

It is said that the remains of Gautama were divided 
into eight portions. Ajatasatru of Magadha obtained 
one portion, and erected a mound over it at Rajagriha. 


The Lichchhavis of Vaisali obtained another portion, 
and erected a mound at that town. Similarly the 
Sakyas of Kapilavastu, the Bulis of Allakappa, the 
Koliyas of Ramagrama, the Mallas of Pava, the Mallas 
of Kusinagara, and a Brahman named Vethadipaka 
obtained portions of the relics and erected mounds 
over them. The Moriyans of Pipphalivana made a 
mound over the embers, and the Brahman Dona made 
a mound over the vessel in which the body had been 



IT is not possible, within the limits of a single 
chapter, to give our readers anything like a com- 
plete summary of the doctrines of Buddha's creed, and 
oiir attempt will rather be to present the substance of 
the great lessons and ideas which Gautama preached 
and inculcated among his countrymen. 

Buddhism is, in its essence, a system of self-culture 
and self-restraint. Doctrines and beliefs are of second- 
ary importance, for the effort to end human suffering 
by living a holy life, free from passions and desires, 
was the cardinal idea with which Gautama was im- 
pressed on the day on which he was " enlightened ' 
under the Bo-tree in Bodh Gaya, and it was the central 
idea which he preached to the last day of his life. 

When he went from Bodh Gaya to Benares, and 
first preached his religion to his five former disciples, he 
explained to them the Fourfold Wisdom and the Eight- 
fold Path, which form the essence of Buddhism. 

" This, Bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of Suffering. 
Birth is suffering, decay is suffering, illness is suffer- 
ing, death is suffering. Presence of objects we hate is 



suffering, not to obtain what we desire is suffering. 
Briefly, the fivefold clinging to existence (the five 
elements) is suffering. 

" This, Bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of the Cause 
of Suffering. Thirst, that leads to rebirth accompanied 
by pleasure and lust, finding its delight here and there, 
thirst for pleasure, thirst for existence, thirst for 

" This, O Bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of the Ces- 
sation of Suffering. It ceases with the complete ces- 
sation of thirst a cessation which consists in the ab- 
sence of every passion, with the abandoning of this 
thirst, with the doing away with it, with the deliver- 
ance from it, with the destruction of desire. 

" This, O Bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of the Path 
which leads to the cessation of suffering the holy 
Eightfold Path of Right Belief, Right Aspiration, 
Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Means of Liveli- 
hood, Right Exertion, Right Mindfulness, and Right 

The substance of this teaching is that life is suffer- 
ing, the thirst for life and its pleasures is the cause 
of suffering, the extinction of that thirst is the cessa- 
tion of suffering, and that such extinction can be 
brought about only by a holy life. It is impossible to 
convey in a few words all that is implied by the eight 
maxims into which a holy life is thus analyzed, but to 
Buddhists, trained in the traditions of their religion, 
these aphorisms speak volumes. Correct views and be- 
liefs must be learnt and entertained; high aims and 


aspirations must always remain before the mind's eye; 
truthfulness and gentleness must characterize every 
word; uprightness and absolute integrity must mark 
the conduct. A livelihood must be sought and adhered 
to which does no harm to living things; there must be 
a lifelong perseverance in doing good, in acts of kind- 
ness, gentleness, and beneficence; the mind and intellect 
must be active and watchful; calm and tranquil medi- 
tation must fill the life with peace. A more beautiful 
picture of life was never conceived by poet or visionary ; 
and a more perfect system of self-culture was never 
proclaimed by philosopher or saint. 

The idea of self-culture was no doubt developed 
during the long course of meditation and good works 
in which Gautama passed his life. On the eve of his 
death he called together his brethren and recapitulated 
the entire system of self-culture under seven heads, and 
these are known as the Seven Jewels of the Buddhist 

" Which, then, O brethren, are the truths which, 
when I had perceived, I made known to you; which, 
when you have mastered, it behoves you to practise, 
meditate upon, and spread abroad, in order that pure 
religion may last long and be perpetuated, in order that 
it may continue to be for the good and the happiness 
of the great multitudes, out of pity for the world, to 
the good and the gain and the weal of gods and men. 
They are these: the four earnest meditations, the four- 
fold great struggle against sin, the four roads to saint- 
ship, the five moral powers, the five organs of spiritual 


sense, the seven kinds of wisdom, and the noble Eight- 
fold Path." 

The four earnest meditations here alluded to are the 
meditations on the body, the sensations, the ideas, and 
the reason. The fourfold struggle against sin is the 
struggle to prevent sinfulness, the struggle to put away 
sinful states which have arisen, the struggle to produce 
goodness, and the struggle to increase goodness. The 
fourfold roads to saintship are the four means, the will, 
the exertion, the preparation, and the investigation, 
by which iddhi is acquired. In later Buddhism iddhi 
implies supernatural powers, but what Gautama prob- 
ably meant was the influence and power which the 
mind by long training and exercise can acquire over the 
body. The five moral powers, and the five organs of 
spiritual sense, are faith, energy, , thought, contempla- 
tion, and wisdom; and the seven kinds of wisdom are 
energy, thought, contemplation, investigation, joy, re- 
pose, and serenity. The Eightfold Path has already 
been described. 

It is by such prolonged self-culture and by the 
breaking of the ten fetters of doubt, sensuality, and all 
other evils that Nirvana may at last be gained. This 
was formerly believed to imply final extinction or death, 
but the majority of scholars now hold that Nirvana does 
not mean death, but only the extinction of that sinful 
condition of the mind, that thirst for life and its pleas- 
ures, which is the cause of reincarnation. What Gau- 
tama meant by Nirvana is attainable in life, for it is 
the sinless calm of mind, the freedom from passion and 


desire, the perfect peace, goodness, and wisdom, which 
continuous self-culture can procure for man. 

But is there no future bliss and no future heaven 
for those who have attained Nirvana? This was a 
question which, of ten puzzled Buddhists, and many a 
time they pressed their great Master for a categorical 

On this point Gautama's replies are uncertain; nor 
does he ever appear to have inspired in his followers 
any hopes of heaven, beyond Nirvana, which is the 
Buddhist's heaven and salvation. 

If a man does not attain to this state of Nirvana in 
life, he is liable to future births. Gautama did not 
believe in the existence of a soul; but, nevertheless, 
the theory of transmigration of souls was too deeply 
implanted in the Hindu mind to be eradicated, and 
Gautama therefore adhered to the theory of transmi- 
gration by assuming that the karma, or deeds, of man 
cannot die, but must necessarily lead to its legitimate 
result. When a living being dies, a new being is pro- 
duced according to the karma of the being that is dead, 
and Buddhist writers are fond of comparing the rela- 
tion of one life to the next with that of the flame of 
a lamp to the flame of another lighted by it. 

But the theory of transmigration was not the only 
doctrine which Gautama accepted from ancient Hindu- 
ism and adopted in a modified form into his own relig- 
ion, for the whole of the Hindu pantheon of the day 
was taken over and made to square with his cardinal 
idea of the supreme efficacy of a holy life. The thirty- 


three gods of the Kig-Veda were recognized, but they 
were not supreme. Brahma, the Supreme Deity of the 
Upanishads, was recognized, but was not supreme. 
For they, too, were struggling through repeated births, 
to attain to that holy life, that Nirvana, which alone 
was supreme. 

With regard to the caste-system, Gautama respected 
a Brahman as he respected a Buddhist Sraman, but 
he respected him for his virtue and learning, not for 
his caste, which he ignored. When two Brahman 
youths, Vasishtha and Bharadvaja, began to quarrel on 
the question, " How does one become a Brahman? " 
and came to Gautama for his opinion, Gautama deliv- 
ered to them a discourse in which he emphatically 
ignored caste, and held that a man's distinguishing 
mark was his work, not his birth. 

At another time Gautama explained to his follow- 
ers, " As the great streams, disciples, however many 
they may be, lose their old name and their old descent 
when they reach the great ocean, and bear only the 
one name of ocean, so also do Brahmans, Kshatriyas, 
Vaisyas, and Sudras." A touching story is also told 
in the Theragatha, which enables us to comprehend how 
Buddhism came like a salvation to the lowly in India, 
and how they eagerly embraced it as a refuge from 
caste. In this tale Sunita, the them, or elder, says, " I 
came of a humble family, I was poor and needy. The 
work which I performed was lowly, sweeping the with- 
ered flowers. I was despised of men, looked down upon 
and lightly esteemed. With submissive mien I showed 




respect to many. Then I beheld Buddha with his band 
of monks as he passed to the town of Magadha. I cast 
away my burden and ran to bow myself in reverence 

before him. From pity for 
me he halted, that highest 
among men. Then I bowed 
myself at the master's feet, 
drew nigh to him and 
begged him, the highest 
among all beings, to accept 
me as a monk. Then said 
unto me the gracious mas- 
ter, ' Come hither, O monk ' 
that was the initiation I 
received." And the passage 
concludes with the lesson which Gautama had so often 
preached, " By holy zeal and chaste living, by restraint 
and self -repression, thereby a man becomes a Brahman: 
that is the highest Brahmanhood. " 

Thus the great teacher who regarded nor wealth, 
nor rank, nor caste, came to the poor and the despised, 
as well as to the rich and the noble, urging them to 
effect their own salvation by a pure and unblemished 
life. Virtue opened the path of honour to high and 
low alike; no distinction was known or recognized in 
the Holy Order. Thousands of men and women re- 
sponded to this appeal, and merged their caste inequal- 
ities in common love for their teacher and common 
emulation of his virtues. 

Yet it would be a mistake to suppose that Gautama 


commanded all to retire from the world and embrace 
the Holy Order. To conquer the yearning for life and 
its pleasures was his cardinal aim, and he assigned no 
peculiar virtue to a mere outward act of renunciation 
of the world. Nevertheless, as it was difficult to con- 
quer that thirst so long as one was actually living in 
the midst of his family and enjoying the pleasures 
of life, Gautama recommended the life of a Bhikkhu 
as the most efficacious means for securing the great end, 
and so thousands retired from the world and became 
Bhikkhus, thus forming the Buddhist monastic system, 
which was probably the first organized monastic system 
in the world. 

These are the leading doctrines of Gautama's relig- 
ion, whose great distinguishing feature is that it is a 
training towards a virtuous and holy life on this earth, 
and takes little thought of reward or punishment. It 
appeals to the most disinterested feelings in man's na- 
ture, sets before him virtue as its own reward, and 
enjoins a lifelong endeavour towards its attainment. It 
knows of no higher aim among gods or men than the 
attainment of a tranquil, sinless life; it speaks of no 
other salvation than virtuous peace, it knows of no 
other heaven than holiness. Small wonder, then, that 
within three centuries from the time when Gautama 
proclaimed his message of equality and of love in Be- 
nares, his creed was the state religion of India, triumph- 
ing for a space over Brahmanism under the sway of 
Asoka, " Beloved of the Gods." 



A RELIGION, whose great aim is the teaching of 
holy living in this world, must necessarily be rich 
in moral precepts, and such maxims are the peculiar 
beauty of Buddhism, for which the religion is held in 
honour over all the civilized world. It will be our 
pleasant task in this chapter to glean some of these 
graceful precepts, which will give our readers some idea 
of the essence of Gautama's moral teachings. 

Gautama prescribed for lay disciples five prohib- 
itory rules or precepts, which are binding on all Bud- 
dhists, whether laymen or Bhikkhus, and are recapitu- 
lated thus: " Let not one kill any living being. Let 
not one take what is not given him. Let not one speak 
falsely. Let not one drink intoxicating drinks. Let 
not one be unchaste." 

Three other rules are laid down which are not con- 
sidered obligatory, but which are recommended to 
austere and pious lay disciples, and run as follows: 

" Let not one eat untimely food at night. Let not 
one wear wreaths or use perfumes. Let one lie on a 
bed spread on the earth." 


Sculptures in the Cave- temple at Karli 

One of the most famous cave-temples in India is that of Karli, about 
midway between Bombay and Poona. The sanctuaries arc Buddhist 
in origin and are of unknown antiquity. The detail and finish of the 
carvings is marvellous, and the sculptures have fortunately been pre- 
served almost in their original perfection. 


The virtuous and ascetic householder is recom- 
mended to take a vow of all these eight precepts, and 
to them two more are added: to abstain from dancing, 
music, singing, and stage plays, and to abstain from the 
use of gold and silver. These Ten Precepts are binding 
on Bhikkhus, as the Five Precepts are binding on all 

To honour one's father and mother, and to follow 
an honourable trade, though not included in the Com- 
mandments, are duties enjoined upon all householders. 

We now turn from Gautama's categories of duties 
to his precepts of benevolence and love, as when he 

" Hatred does not cease by hatred at any time, 
hatred ceases by love; this is its nature. 

" Let us live happily, not hating those who hate 
us. Among men who hate us, let us live free from 

" Let one overcome anger by love, let him over- 
come evil by good. Let him overcome the greedy by 
liberality, the liar by truth." 

Parables were told to impress this great lesson on 
the followers of the gentle and pure-souled Gautama, 
and we will here narrate one of these parables as briefly 
as we can. Trying to heal contentions and differences 
among his followers, Buddha said: 

" In former times, Bhikkhus, there lived at Be- 
nares a king of the Kasis, Brahmadatta by name, 
wealthy, rich in treasures, rich in revenues, and rich in 
troops and vehicles, the lord over a great realm, with 


full treasuries and storehouses. And there was also a 
king of the Kosalas, Dighiti by name, not wealthy, poor 
in treasures, poor in revenues, poor in troops and vehi- 
cles, the lord over a small realm, with empty treasuries 
and storehouses." 

As often happens, the rich king robbed the weak 
one of his realm and treasures, and Dighiti with his 
queen fled to Benares, and dwelt there in a potter's 
house in the guise of an ascetic. There the exiled queen 
gave birth to a child who was called Dighavu, and in 
course of time the boy reached the years of discretion. 

In the meantime King Brahmadatta heard that his 
former rival was living in the town in disguise with 
his wife, and he ordered them to be brought before 
him, and had them cruelly executed. 

Their son Dighavu was then living outside Benares, 
but happened to come to the town at the time of his 
father's execution. The dying king looked at his son, 
and with more than human forgiveness left his last 
injunctions on his son. " Not by hatred, dear Dighavu, 
is hatred appeased. By love, dear Dighavu, hatred is 

And young Dighavu went to the forest, where he 
lamented and wept to his heart's content. He then re- 
turned to the town, after having formed his resolution, 
and took employment under an elephant trainer in the 
royal stables. 

Early in the dawn he arose and sang in a beautiful 
voice and played upon the lute. And the voice was so 
beautiful that the king inquired who it was that had 


risen so early and had sung in the elephant stables in 
so beautiful a voice. And the young boy was taken to 
the king, who liked him well and employed him as his 

It so happened that on one occasion the king went 
out to hunt, taking young Dighavu with him. Digha- 
vu 's secret resentment was burning within him, and 
he so drove the royal chariot that the hosts went one 
way, and the king's chariot went another way. 

At last the king was wearied and fell asleep, resting 
his head in Dighavu 's lap. 

" And young Dighavu thought, Bhikkhus, t This 
King Brahmadatta, of Kasi, has done much harm to 
us. By him we have been robbed of our troops and 
vehicles, our realm, our treasuries, and storehouses. 
And he has killed my father and mother. Now the time 
has come for me to satisfy my hatred ' and he un- 
sheathed his sword." 

But with the recollection of his father, the last words 
of his dying parent came to the remembrance of the 
vengeful prince. " Not by hatred, dear Dighavu, is 
hatred appeased. By love, dear Dighavu, hatred is 
appeased "and the prince put back his sword. 

The king dreamed a frightful dream, and started 
up terrified and alarmed. Dighavu told him the whole 
truth. The king was astonished, and exclaimed, " Grant 
me my life, my dear Dighavu! Grant me my life, my 
dear Dighavu! " whereupon the prince forgave his 
father's murder by carrying out his father's injunction 
and granting Brahmadatta his life. And Brahmadatta 


restored to Mm his father's troops and vehicles, his 
realm, his treasures, and his storehouses, and he gave 
him his daughter. 

" Now, O Bhikkhus, if such is the forbearance and 
mildness of kings who wield the sceptre and bear the 
sword, so much more, Bhikkhus, must you so let your 
light shine before the world, that you, having embraced 
the religious life according to so well-taught a doctrine 
and a discipline, may be seen to be forbearing and 

Not only forbearance and mildness, but the virtue 
of good acts is repeatedly and impressively enjoined 
by Gautama on his followers. 

" Like a beautiful flower, full of colour, but without 
scent, are the fine and fruitless words of him who does 
not act accordingly. 

" A man is not an elder because his head is gray. 
His age may be ripe, but he is called old in vain. 

" He in whom there is truth, virtue, love, restraint, 
moderation, he who is free from impurity and is wise, 
he is called an elder." 

Again in the Amagandha Sutta of the Sutta Nipata, 
Gautama explains to a Brahman, Kasyapa by name, 
that the destruction of life, killing, cutting, binding, 
stealing, lying, fraud, adultery, backbiting, treachery, 
cruelty, intoxication, deceit, pride, and a bad mind 
and wicked deeds are what defile a man, who can 
be purified neither by abstinence from fish or flesh, nor 
by nakedness, tonsure, matted hair, dirt, rough gar- 
ments, penances, hymns, oblations, or sacrifices. 


The whole of the Dhammapada is a series of 423 
moral precepts which in their beauty and moral worth 
are unsurpassed by any similar collection of precepts 
made in any age or country; and a good-sized volume 
might be compiled from the legends and maxims, the 
parables and precepts, which are interspersed through- 
out the Buddhist sacred scriptures, of which the follow- 
ing may serve as specimens: 

" All men tremble at punishment, all men fear death. 
Remember that you are like unto them, and do not kill, 
nor cause slaughter. " 

" The fault of others is easily perceived, but that 
of oneself is difficult to perceive; a man winnows his 
neighbour's faults like chaff, but his own fault he hides, 
as a cheat hides the bad die from the gambler." 

" This is called progress in the discipline of the 
Noble One, if one sees his sin in its sinfulness, and duly 
makes amends for it, and refrains from it in future." 




WE are told in the Chullavagga that, on the death 
of Gautama, the venerable Mahakasyapa pro- 
posed, " Let us chant together the Dhamma and the 
Vinaya." The proposal was accepted, and 499 Arhats 
were selected for the purpose; and Ananda, the faithful 
friend and follower of Gautama, completed the number 
five hundred. 

This was the Council of Rajagriha held in the year 
of Gautama 's death, presumably 487 B. c., to settle the 
sacred text and, by chanting it together, to fix it on the 

A century after the death of Gautama, according to 
tradition, the Bhikkhus of Vaisali promulgated ten 
theses, which permitted, among other things, the use 
of unfermented liquor, and the receipt of gold and sil- 
ver by Bhikkhus, or monks. 

Yasa, the son of Kakandaka, a venerable Bhikkhu, 
protested against these licenses, and convoked a great 



Buddhist council at Vaisali. He sent messengers to the 
Bhikkhus of the western country, and of Avanti, as 
well as of the southern country; but in the meantime 
the Bhikkhus of Vaisali heard that he was obtaining 
support from the Bhikkhus of the western provinces, 
and they, in their turn, sought for sanction from the 
east. Indeed the difference was between the eastern 
Buddhists of Vaisali and the western Buddhists of the 
provinces along the higher course of the Ganges, and 
also of Malwa and the Deccan. 

The final decision of the Council, rendered by a com- 
mittee of four from each side, was against all the pro- 
posed innovations except one, which was allowed in 
certain cases; but this verdict the majority of monks 
refused to accept. Those who thus renounced western 
conservatism in favour of the eastern innovations of 
the Vrijjians, formed the school known as the Northern 
Buddhism of Nepal, Tibet, China, and Japan, while 
their orthodox opponents are represented by the South- 
ern Buddhism of Ceylon, Burma, and Siam. 

Buddhism first became the state religion of India 
when Asoka, who had ascended the throne of Magadha 
about 272, became a convert to the new faith. About 
the seventeenth year of his reign, he held at his capital, 
Pataliputra, the third council, which lasted for nine 
months, under the presidency of Tissa, son of Moggali, 
and was attended by a thousand elders. After the close 
of the Council, Asoka sent missionaries to Kashmir and 
Gandhara, to Mahisa (near modern Mysore), to Vana- 
vasa (probably Eajputana), to Aparantaka (West Pan- 


jab), to Maharattha, to Yonaloka (Bactria and Greece), 
to Himavanta (Central Himalayas), to Subannabhumi 
(probably Burma), and to Lanka (Ceylon). The edicts 
of Asoka also inform us that his orders were carried 
out in Chola (Madras country), Pandya (Madura), 
Satyapura (Satpura range), Kerala (Travancore), Cey- 
lon, and the land of the Greek King Antiochus of Syria, 
while in another edict he informs us that he sent em- 


bassies to the five Greek kingdoms of Syria, Egypt, 
Macedon, Epirus, and Cyrene. 

We have already seen that Asoka sent his own son 
Mahendra, or Mahinda, to Ceylon, and that he soon 
converted King Tissa and spread Buddhism throughout 
the island. The scenes of Mahinda 's labours are still 
visible in Ceylon. Eight miles from the ruined city 
of Anuradhapura is the hill of Mihintale, where the 
Ceylonese king built a monastery for the Indian monks, 
and here is a great stupa, or cupola, under which rest 
the ashes of Asoka 's son. 


After the death of King Tissa and of Mahinda, 
Ceylon was twice overrun and conquered by Dravidian 
conquerors, who were finally expelled by Watta Gamini 
about 88 B. c., when the three Pitakas, which had been 
so long preserved by word of mouth, are said to have 
been reduced to writing. 

About 450 A. D. Buddhism was introduced into 
Burma, and in 638 it penetrated to Siam. Java seems 
to have received Buddhist missionaries about the same 
time, and Buddhism apparently spread thence to Su- 
matra. All these countries belonged to the Southern 
Buddhist school. 

Northern Buddhism was the prevailing faith in the 
northwest of India before the commencement of the 
Christian Era. Pushpamitra, the King of Kashmir, 
whose history will be found in the next volume, perse- 
cuted the Buddhists early in the second century B. c., 
and Pushpamitra 's son, Agnimitra, met the Greeks on 
the banks of the Ganges. The Greeks under Menander 
were victorious, and about 150 B. c. extended their con- 
quests as far as the Ganges. But the victory of the 
Greeks was no loss to Buddhism, and Nagasena, a re- 
nowned Buddhist teacher of the time, had religious 
controversies with the Greek king, which have been 
preserved to us in a most interesting Pali work. 

Between the first and second centuries after Christ 
the Yueh-chi under Kanishka conquered Kashmir. 
Kanishka's vast empire extended over Kabul, over 
Yarkand and Khotan, over Kashmir and Rajputana, 
and over the whole of the Pan jab, to Gujarat and Sind 


in the south, and to Agra in the east, and even China 
had hostages at his court. Kanishka was a zealous 
Buddhist of the Northern school, and held a council of 
five hundred monks. If this council had settled the 
text as the Council of Asoka at Pataliputra did, we 
should now have in our possession the canon of North- 
ern Buddhism as we have the Three Pitakas of the 
South. But Kanishka 's council satisfied itself with 
writing three commentaries only, and Northern Bud- 
dhism drifted more and more from its primitive form, 
and assumed different aspects in different lands. 

As early as the second century B. c., Buddhist books 
were taken to the Emperor of China, probably from 
Kashmir. Another emperor, in 62 A. D., procured more 
Buddhist works and Buddhism spread rapidly from 
that date until it became the state religion in the fourth 
century. 1 

From China the religion spread to Korea in 372 A. D., 
and thence to Japan in 552 A. D. Cochin-China, For- 
mosa, Mongolia, and other countries received Buddhism 
from China in the fourth and fifth centuries ; while from 
Kabul the religion travelled to Balkh, Bokhara, and else- 

Buddhism must have penetrated into Nepal at an 
early date, although the kingdom did not become Bud- 
dhist until the sixth century, nor did the first Buddhist 
King of Tibet send for scriptures from India before 
632 A. D. 

1 For an account of the introduction of Buddhism into China see vol. 11, 
pp. 231-234. 



Jain religion was long considered an offshoot 
-I- from the religion proclaimed by Gautama Buddha, 
but it is now known to be an independent faith which 
began about the same time as the religion of Gautama, 
the two creeds flowing in parallel streams for long 
centuries, until Buddhism declined, while Jainism still 
continues to be a living faith in some parts of India. 

The Jains, both of the Svetambara (with white 
clothing) and the Digambara (without clothing) sect, 
allege that Mahavira, the founder of the religion, was 
the son of Siddhartha of Kundagrama, and belonged 
to the clan of Jnatrika Kshatriyas. This Kotigrama 
is identified with the Kundagrama of the Jains, and 
the Natikas mentioned in the Buddhist Scriptures are 
identified with the Jnatrika Kshatriyas. Further, Ma- 
havira 's mother Trisaa is said to have been the sister 
of Kataka, King of Vaisali, whose daughter was mar- 
ried to the renowned Bimbisara, King of Magadha. 
The Jain saint and the Buddha preached, therefore, in 
Magadha during the reign of the same ruler. 

Mahavira, at first called Vardhamana or Jnatripu- 



tra, entered the Holy Order at the age of twenty-eight, 
and after twelve years of self-mortification became a 
saint and prophet. During the last thirty years of his 
life he organized his order of ascetics. He was thus 
a rival of Gautama Buddha, and is mentioned in Bud- 
dhist writings under the name of Nataputra as the head 
of a numerous sect in Vaisali. Mahavira's death oc- 
curred some time after 500 B. c., probably shortly before 
the decease of Buddha. 

Jain tradition goes on to say that in the second cen- 
tury after Mahavira's death at Papa there was a famine 
in Magadha. The renowned Chandragupta was then 
the sovereign of Magadha. Bhadrabahu, with a portion 
of his Jain followers, left Magadha under pressure of 
the famine and went to Karnata. During his absence, 
the Jains of Magadha settled their scriptures, consist- 
ing of the eleven Angas and the fourteen Puvvas, the 
latter sometimes called the twelfth Anga. On the re- 
turn of peace and plenty, the Jains again sought Ma- 
gadha; but within these years a difference in custom 
had arisen between those who had stayed in Magadha, 
and those who had gone to Karnata. The former had 
assumed a white dress, and the latter adhered to the 
old rule of absolute nudity. The former were accord- 
ingly called Svetambaras, and the latter Digambaras. 
The scriptures which had been settled by the former 
were not accepted by the latter, and the Digambaras 
therefore have no Angas. The final division between 
the two sects is said to have taken place in 83 A. D. 

Tn course of time the scriptures of the Svetambaras 


fell into confusion, and were in danger of becoming 
extinct. It was necessary to record them in writing, 
and this was done at the Council of Valabhi in Guja- 
rat in 454 or 467 A. D. The operations of the council 


resulted in the redaction of the Jain canon in the form 
in which we find it at the present day. 

Besides these facts and traditions, inscriptions have 
been discovered on the pedestals of Jain statues at 
Mathura which prove that the Svetambara sect existed 
in the first century A. D. 

Such is the substance of the evidence on which it 
is contended that the Jain religion is coaeval with Bud- 
dhism, and not an offshoot from that religion. From 


the mention of " Nataputra " and of the " Nirgran- 
thas " in the Buddhist scriptures, it is reasonable to 
suppose that the Jain sect of unclad ascetics also had 
its origin about the same time. Indeed, we have al- 
ready stated repeatedly that various sects of ascetics 
lived in India at the time when Gautama Buddha lived 
and taught and led his sect of ascetics. It is difficult 
to believe, however, that the Jain religion, as we have 
it now, was professed by the Nirgranthas of the sixth 
century B. c. The story that the canon was settled by 
a council in Magadha at the tune of Chandragupta is 
probably a myth; and even if the legend be true, the 
canon settled *in the third century B. c. would be very 
different from that recorded in the fifth century A. D. 
For there can be little doubt that the early tenets of 
the first Nirgranthas had long since been modified and 
completely transformed, and that the more cultured 
section of that body, who adopted a white garment, 
borrowed their maxims and precepts, their rules and 
customs, their legends and traditions, from Buddhism, 
which was the prevailing religion of India after the 
third century B. c. Thus the Jains drifted more and 
more towards Buddhism for long centuries, until they 
had adopted the substance of the Buddhist religion as 
their own, and very little of the early tenets of the 
unclad Nirgranthas was left. It was then, in the fifth 
century A. D., that their scriptures were committed to 
writing, and it is no wonder that those sacred texts read 
like a copy of the Buddhist scriptures made six cen- 
turies before. 



Like the Buddhists, the Jains have their monastic 
order, and they refrain from killing animals, and praise 
retirement from the world. In some respects they go 
even further than the Buddhists, and maintain that not 
only animals and plants, but the smallest particles of 


the elements, fire, air, earth, and water, are endowed 
with life. For the rest, the Jains, like the Buddhists, 
reject the Veda, they accept the tenets of karma and 
of nirvana, and believe in the transmigration of souls. 
They also believe in twenty-five Tirthakaras, or Jinas, 
as the early Buddhists believed in twenty-four Buddhas 
who had risen before Gautama Buddha. The sacred 


books, or Agamas, of the Jains consist of seven divi- 
sions, among which the eleven Angas form the first and 
most important division. 

Among the other sects of ascetics which flourished 
side by side with the Buddhists and the Mrgranthas in 
the sixth century B. c., the best known in their day 
were the Ajivakas founded by Gosala. Asoka names 
them in his inscriptions, along with the Brahmans and 
Nirgranthas. Gosala was therefore a rival of Buddha 
and Mahavira; but his sect has now ceased to exist. 

The great religious movements that had their rise 
in the latter* part of the sixth century B. c. have been 
traced here with some attention to detail, not only 
because of the importance of religion throughout all 
of India's development, but especially because of the 
prominent part which Buddhism played in the history 
of the greatest kings of India during the next thousand 
years after the date with which this volume closes. 


Abhidhamma Pitaka, contains Buddhist 

metaphysics, 283 
Aborigines, wars with, 30 

Description of, in Rig- Veda, 34-35 
First Hinduized, 37 
Formed Sudra caste, 84 
Actions, five, in Vaisesika philosophy, 


Acts, in Nyaya philosophy, 263 
Adhvaryus, class of Vedic priests, duties 

of, 86 

Aditi, Vedic goddess, 69 
Adityas, sons of Aditi, 69 

Twelve, the suns of the months, 69 
Administration, Megasthenes's account 

of, 210-212 
Adoption, Hindu law of, 58 

Of a son, part of Hindu religion, 166 
Adornment, according to Megasthenes, 


Adultery, a criminal offence, 220 
Againas, sacred books of the Jains, 228 
Agni, the god of fire, 71-72 
Agnihotra, daily milk-libation to sacred 

fire, 162 

Agnimitra, son of Pushpamitra, 321 
Agnishtoma, Soma sacrifice, 163 
Agnosticism of Sankhya philosophy coun- 
teracted by Yoga school, 257 
Agnyadhana, ceremony, 163-166 
Agrahayani, rite performed in month of 

Agrahayana, 251 
Agrarian laws, 223, 224 
Agriculture, 8 

Derivation of Sanskrit word for, 13 
Among the ancient Hindus, 13 
Ahura Mazda, Iranian equivalent of Va- 

runa, 63 
Aitareya Brahmana, coronation ceremony 

in, 131-132 

Ajatasatru, son of Rajagriha, 298 
Ajivakas, a sect of ascetics, 328 
Alan, teacher of Buddha, 290 
Amrita, the immortal drink, 25 

Ananda, convert to Buddhism, 293-295 
Ancestor-worship among Hindus, 166 
Andaroi (Andhras), Hindu nation, 205 
Audhra kingdom, in the Deccan, found- 
ing of, 184 

Limits of, 203 

Andhras, described by Megasthenes, 205 
Anga, kingdom of Ancient India, 284 
Animal food, 22 
Animals, 7, 29 

Sacrifice of, 22, 160 

In ancient India, 217 
Anukramanis, Vedic indexes, 193-194 
Anuruddha, convert to Buddhism, 293, 

Apastamba, Kalpa Sutra of, 191-192 

A teacher who flourished in the fifth 
century B. c., 202 

Modern followers of, 203 
Aranyakas, compilation of, 85 

General character of, 94 

Of the Rig- Veda, 94 

Of the Yajur-Veda, 94-95 
Arjuna, one of the five Pandava princes, 

Skill of, 102 

Wins the hand of Draupadi, 105 

Recovers cattle stolen from Virata, 

Discovery of, 108 

Kills Bhishma, 109 

Conflict of, with Karna, 110 

Kills Karna, 110 

Rise of, as a god, 169 
Arrian, Greek historian, 213 
Arsha marriage, 238 
Aryan settlements in the Pan jab, 4 

Derivation of, 8 

Civilization, extension of, 36 

Conquerors, internal strife among, 37 

World, boundaries of, in 1000 B. c., 126. 

Nation, formed of Brahmans, Kshatri- 
yas, and Vaisyas, 137 

People principally Vaisyas almost to 
the Mohammedan conquest, 187 




Aryans, development of, in Ancient 
India, 2-3 

A united community, 5 

Domestic Economy of, 7 

Nomadic life led by, 8 

Expansion of, 30, 82, 128-130 

Ancient compositions of, preserved tra- 
ditionally by certain families, 78 

Home of, passage concerning, 201 
Ascetics, Hindu, 235, 236 

Rules for, 241-242 
Ashtaka, rites performed in the month of 

Agrahayana, 261-262 
Asia, spread of Buddhism throughout, 322 
Asoka, Hindu king, 3 

Father of Mahinda, 320 
Astronomy, science of, 193 

In the Rig-Veda, 156-167 

In the Brahmanic period, 156, 167 
Asvamedha, horse-sacrifice, 163 

Celebrated by Yudhishthira, 110 

Celebrated by Rama, 124* 
Asvapati, a monarch, 163 
Asvayugi, rite performed in the month of 
Asvayuga, 251 

Rites described by Sankhayana, 251 
Asvins, 20 

Known as great physicians, 74 
Atharva-Veda, compilation of, 85, 86 

Late in gaining canonicity, 90-91 

Division of, ,91 

Character of, 91 

Brahmanas of, 93 
Atomic theory in Hindu philosophy, 264, 


Avesta, possible allusions to Aryan cus- 
toms in, 24 
Ayodhya, capital of the Kosalas, 119 

Social life in, in the Brahmanic period, 


Badarayana Vyasa, founder of the Ve- 
danta philosophy, 270 

Outline of Brahma Sutra of, 270-271 
Barbarians, revenge of, 36 
Battle of the Ten Kings, 37, 38 
Baudhayana, one of the earliest of the 

Sutrakaras, 200 
Benares, a city, 126 

Bengal, believed to have been invaded by 
Pandavas, 106 

Hinduized, 203 

Bhaddiya, convert to Buddhism, 293 
Bhagu, convert to Buddhism, 293 
Bharadvaja, a hermitage, 120 
Bharata, son of Duhshanta, 132 

Son of Kaikeyi, 119 
Bharatas, known also as Kurus, a tribe, 

Bhima, one of the five Pandava princes, 

Fights with Duryodhana, 102 

Kills brother of Queen of Virata, 108 

Kills Duhsasana, 109 
Bhishma, a renowned warrior, son of 
Santanu, 100 

Killed unfairly by Arjuna, 109 
Bhujya, shipwreck of, 20 
Bimbisara, King of the Magadhas, 284 

Conversion of, to Buddhism, 291 
Birds, 17 
Brahma, evolution of, 75 

Theme of the older Upanishads, 95 

His part in creation, 167 

True nature of, as taught in the Chhan- 
dogya Upanishad, 174-176 

Marriage of, 238 
Brahmadatta and Dighavu, parable of, 


Brahmana literature, 86 
Brahman, caste, 136 

Duties of a, 86, 87 

Worsted in learning by warrior caste, 

Only, practise austerities in Krita Age, 

Allowed to marry into other castes, in 
Brahmanic and Epic periods, 164 

Occupations of, 232, 233 

Arrogance toward other castes, 233 

Translation from Megasthenes concern- 
ing, 234-236 
Brahmanas, composition of, 85, 143-144 

General character of, 92 

Of Rig-Veda, 92-93 

Of Sama-Veda, 93 

Of Yajur-Veda, 93 

Of Atharva-Veda, 93 
Brahmanic period, hermit life in, 85, 144 

Justice officially administered in, 143 

Municipal government in, 143 

Students in, 144 

Teachers in, 144 

Ethical ideal in, 146-146 

Metals in, 147 

Food in, 147-149 

Social life in, 149-154 

Plan of towns in, 160 

Manufactures in, 160 

Child marriage unknown in, 164 

Widow marriage not prohibited in, 164 

Astronomy a distinct science in, 167 
Brihaspati, conception of, 74 

Lord of hymns, 74 
Buddha, birth of, 281 

Religion of, 253 

Disapproval of caste by, 276 

Beginning of teachings of, 276 

Character of, 279 



Preaches his doctrines in the vernacu- 
lar, 283 

Marries Subhadhra, 286 
Son born to, 286 
Leaves home to study philosophy and 

religion, 286, 289 
Converts his former disciples, 291 
Sends his sixty followers out to preach, 


Wife of, a convert, 292 
Residence in Veluvaua, 292 
Guest of Bimbisara, 292 
Son of, a convert, 293 
Stepmother and wife admitted to order 

of Buddhist nuns by, 296 
Temptation of, 289-290 
Work of, in the seventeenth, eighteenth, 

and twentieth years of his ministry, 

Still preaching at the age of eighty, 297, 


Resides on Vulture's Peak, 298 
Wanderings of, 296-300 
Seized with fatal illness at Pava, 800 
Death of, at Kusinagara, 280, 301-302 
Cremation of, 302 
Body of, said to have been divided into 

eight portions, 302-303 
Teachings of, on caste, 309 
Buddhism, spread of, 184 
Partial resemblance to Sankhya philos- 
ophy, 263 

Opposed by Mimamsa philosophies, 270 
Prevailing faith of Asia, 276 
Spread of, to Tibet, in seventh century 

A. D., 280 
Spread of, to Japan, in sixth century 

A. D., 280 
Becomes state religion in China in 

fourth century A. D., 280, 322 
Divided into two sects, 280 
Essentially a system of self-culture and 

self-restraint, 304 
Distinguishing features of, 313 
Ten prohibitory rules for monks, 312- 

The precepts of benevolence and love, 


State religion of India, 319 
Early missionary activity of, 319-320 
In Ceylon, 320 
Introduced into Burma about 460 A. D., 


Spread of, throughout Asia, 322 
Introduced into Siain about 638 A. D., 

Buddhist books in China in the second 

century, 322 

Law, seven jewels of, 306-307 
Monastic system, antiquity of, 311 

Missionaries visit Java about 638 A. D., 

Buddhists, sacred books of the, 281 

Triad of the, 299 
Burial customs in the Black Yajur-Veda, 


Customs in the White Yajur-Veda, 165 
Hymn on, 60 

Practised by the ancient Hindus, 165 
Unknown in the Epic period, 166 
Building, art of, 28 

Burma, Buddhism in, about 460 A. D., 

Cakes, preparation of, from grain, 21 
Canons, Jain, codification of, 326 
Carpentry, 26 

Caste, absence of, among the early 
Hindus, 6, 60 

Unknown in Rig- Veda, 51-52, 143 

No priestly, in Vedic period, 76 

Brahmanic, rise of the, 83-84 

Kshatriya, rise of the, 84, 186 

Vaisya, rise of the, 84 

Sudra, rise of the, 84 

Aborigines formed the Sudra, 84 

Reaction against, 84 

Among priests, 134 

System, beginning of, 186 

Brahmanic, 136 

Vaisya, 136 

Sudra, 136 

Not distinguished in the Brahmanic 
age, 138, 141-142 

Developed in Brahmanic and Epic 
times, 143 

Brahmans allowed to marry outside 
their own, in Brahmanic period, 164 

Vaisya, undivided in Philosophic 
period, 154 

Translation from Vasishtha concerning, 

Vaisya, translation from Megasthenes 
concerning, 236-237 

Kshatriya, translation from Megas- 
thenes concerning, 236 

Buddha's teaching on, 309 

No distinction of, recognized by Bud- 
dhism, 310 

Laws varied in severity according to, 

Theoretic origin of, according to Va- 
sishtha, 230 

Castes, three highest, educated together, 

Seven, described by Megasthenes, 234 
Categories, seven in Vaisesika philosophy, 



Cattle, 18 
Stolen from Virata by princes of Has- 

tinapura, 108 

Causation, according to Sankhya philos- 
ophy, 255-256 
Cause and effect, in Nyaya philosophy, 


Ceylon, discovery of, 203 
Believed to have been invaded by the 

Pandavas, 106 

A resort of Hindu traders, 185 
Known to Megasthenes and .Mian, 207 
Converted to Buddhism, 320 
Twice conquered by the Dravidians, 

Chaitri, a rite performed in the month of 

Chaitra, 262 

Chandalas explained as a caste, 231 
Chandragupta, empire of, included whole 

of Northern India, 204 
Army of, 204 

Chaturmasya, a sacrifice, 162 
Chera, Hindu kingdom, 185, 203 
Chhandogya, extracts from, 174-175 
Child, rites performed at birth of, 246 
Name of, 246 
First feeding of, with solid food, 246- 

Marriage unknown in Brahmanic and 

Epic periods, 164 
Marriage not prevalent in Philosophic 

Age, 239 

Children, desire for, 166 
China, Buddhism state religion in, in 

fourth century A. D., 280 
Buddhist books in, about the second 

century, 322 

Chola, Hindu kingdom, 185, 203 
Chullavagga, translation from, 283 
Chumbala, a river, 129 
Churning of the ocean of milk, 26 
Civilization, Hindu, age of, 1 
Aryan, higher state of, 7 
Extension of, 36 
Development of, in Brahmanic period, 


Advance of, among Hindus, 133 
In the time of Baudhayana, 201 
Coherence, category of, in Vaisesika phi- 
losophy, 266 

Commerce in the Eig-Veda, 18 
Conquests, Aryan, determined by course 
of river systems of Northern India, 

Corn, preparation of, 8 
Coronation of Yudhishthira, 106 
Ceremony described in the Aitareya 

Brahmana, 131-132 

Ceremony described in the White Ta- 
jur-Veda, 132-133 

Corpses burned and ashes buried in Epic 

period, 166 

Cosyri, a Hindu tribe, 206 
Council, first Buddhist, at Rajagriha, 281 
Second Buddhist, at Vaisali, 281 
Third Buddhist, at Patna, 281 
Of Rajagriha, 318 
At Vaisali, 318-319 
Third, at Pataliputra, 319 
Creation, two hymns on, 78-80 
Legends of, 167-168 
Extracts from the Upanishads con- 
cerning, 176-178 
Extracts in the Aitareya Aranyaka 

concerning, 178 
Cremation, hymn on, 60 
Among the Hindus, 165 
Of Buddha, 302 
Crimes, agrarian, severe punishment of, 

Criminals tried by the ordeal of fire, 166, 

166 * 

Cultivation in Ancient India, 216 


Dadhikra, a deified war-horse, 29 
Daiva marriage, 238 
Dandaka, a forest, 120 
Darsa-purnamasa, a sacrifice performed 
on the first day after the full and new 
moon, 162 
Dasaratha, king of the Kosalas, 119 

Death of, 120 
Dasyus, 33 
Reference in Rig-Veda to habitation of, 


Debate between a woman and a priest, 163 
Deccan, 126 

Hinduized, 203 
Delhi, central district of Kuru kingdom, 


Devadatta, convert to Buddhism, 293, 295 
Devas, 10 

Worshippers of the, 10 
Dhammapada, Buddhist work, extracts 

from, 317 
Dharma Sutras, theme and value of, 189 

Source of Manu's code, 189-190 
Dhrishtadyumna, brother of Draupadi, 

Dhritarashtra, grandson of Santanu, 101 

Father of Duryodhana, 104 
Dyu, primitive sky-god, 63 
Digambaras, Jain sect, 323-324 
Dighavu and Brahmadatta, parable of, 


Dirghatamas, a Brahman . 132 
Dissensions, domestic, 67 
Doab, entry of the Kurus into the, 83 



Entry of the Panchalas into the, 83 

Colonization of the, 98 
Domestic ceremonies, value of, for knowl- 
edge of Hindu life, 244 
Draupadi, svayamvara of, 104 

Chooses Arjuna as her husband, 105 

Marries the five Pandava princes, 105 

Publicly insulted by Duryodhaua, 107 

Slave of Duryodhana, 107 

The Queen of Virata's handmaid, 108 
Dravidiaus, 184 

Conquer Ceylon twice, 321 
Drona, a warrior, 101 

Conquers Drupada, 103 

Kills Drupada, 109 

Killed by Drupada' s son, 109 
Drupada conquered by Drona, 103 

King of the Panchalas, 104 

Alliance of, with the five Pandava 
princes, 105 

Killed by Drona, 109 
Duhshanta, father of Bharata, 132 
Durga, goddess, 76 
Duhsasana killed by Bhima, 109 
Duryodhana, son of Dhritarashtra, 102 

Fights with Bhima, 102 

Publicly insults Draupadi, 107 

Flight of, from Bhima, and subsequent 
return to him, 110 


Eightfold path, Buddhist, 304-305 
Emancipation, final, according to Ve- 

dauta philosophy, 272 
Epic period, municipal government in, 

Equality, legal, unknown in ancient 

India, 220 
Ethical ideal in Brahmanic period, 145- 

Evidence, kinds of, recognized by San- 

khya philosophy, 255 
Evil, true nature of, 216 
Exile of Rama, 120 

Of Pandava princes, 103, 107 


False evidence, 222 

Famine unknown in India, 217 

Fire, various offerings to, 5 

Sacred, kept burning in every house- 
hold, 52, 150 

Sacrificial, 76 

Ordeal of, criminals tried by, 155-156 

Names of, 170 

Five Pandava princes, 100-101 
Flood, Hindu tradition of, 166-167 
Food, vegetable, 21 

Animal, 22 

In Brahmanic period, 147-148 
Foreigners explained as castes, 232 
Forest hermits in the Brahmanic period, 


Fourfold wisdom, Buddhist, 304-306 
Future life, hymn on, 69-60 

Gambling match of Yudhishthira, 107 
Gandharva marriage, 238 
Ganges, river, 97, 126 

Valley of, reached by the Hindus, 82 

Exploration of shores of, 97 
Gautama, see also Buddha 

Buddha, 3 

Haridrumata, a Vedic teacher, 139-141 

Founder of the Nyaya philosophy, 262 
Gayatri, the, 70 
Genus, in Buddhism, 266 

In Vaisesika philosophy, 266 
Geometry, 192, 194 
Godavari, a river of ancient India, 120 
Gods of the Rig- Veda still worshipped in 

Brahmanic and Epic times, 169 
Gosala, founder of sect of Ajivakas, 328 
Government, 9 

Grammar, science of, in India, 193 
Greek knowledge of India, 197-198, 204- 


Grain, names of, in Rig- Veda, 21 
Grihya Sutras, regulations concerning 
domestic rites, 190 

Value of, for knowledge of Hindu life, 

191, 244 
Gujarat, Hinduized, 203 


Hanuman, commander-in-chief of the 

non-Aryan army, 121 
Restores Sita to Rama, 121 
Haoma, Iranian name for Soma, 24 
Hastinapura, capital of the Kurus, 100 
Ruins of, said to be near Delhi, 100 
Social life of, in the Brahmanic period, 


Harvests, two annually in India, 218 
Hercules, identified with Krishna, 207 
Hermit life, in the Brahmanic period, 85, 


Hermits, rules for, 241, 242 
Hetairism, 7 
Hindu Aryans, a united body in the Vedic 

Age, 136 

Civilization, age of, 1 
Civilization, expansion of, 112 
Literature, ancient, 2 
Pantheon adopted and modified by 
Buddha, 308-309 



Religion, cardinal principle of, 179 
Religion, explanation of, by Rig-Veda, 


Villages, manage their own affairs, 160 
Women, Sita model of, 125 
World, Panchalas and Kurus centre of, 


Hindus, Vedic, character of, 4 
Vedic, settlement of, on Indus, 4 
Agriculture among, 13 
Separation of, from the Iranians, 24 
Effect of climate of Ganges valley on, 


Gradual enervation of, 83 
Cremation among, 165 
Ancestor-worship among, 166 
Advance of civilization among, 133 
Rules of, to regulate domestic and so- 
cial duties, 143 

Spread of civilization among, 198-200 
As described by Megasthenes, 124-215 
Food and clothing of, 216 
Home, early Aryan, controversy concern- 
ing, 6 

Horatoi (Saurashtras), Hindu nation, 206 
Horse, sacrifice of a, 22, 23, 24, 163 
Sacrificial, captured by Rama's *ons 
and his subsequent recognition of 
them, 125 
Horses, 16 

Hospitality, 145, 150, 241 
Hotris, Vedic priests, duties of, 86, 88 
Household worship, 50 
Householders, students as, 145 
Forty sacraments of, 242-243 
Hymn to the rivers, historical significance 

of, 49 
Recounting Indra's slaying of Vritra, 

Relating to the storm-myth of Indra, 


Hymns, sung by professional priests, 5 
Certain families proficient in compos- 
ing, 77 

Of the Vedas still repeated as texts in 
Brahmanic and Epic times, 169 

Idols, unknown in the Vedic period, 5, 52 

India, oldest records of, 1 
Political life, decadence of, 3 
History, value of, 3-4 
Early civilization centred in, 6 
Buddhism state religion of, 319 

Indian tribes, number one hundred and 
eighteen, 215 

Lido-Iranians in Asia, 9 

Indra, 33-35 
Hymn to, 32-33 

First among Vedic gods, 63 

Slays Vritra, 65 

Storm-myth of, 67 

An Aditya, 69 

As leader, 69 
Indrajit, son of Ravana, 122 

Killed by Lakshmana and revived by a 

powerful medicine, 122 
Indraprastha, city in ancient India, 106 
Indus, sacred river of the Panjab, 49, 126 
Industries, 7 

Inheritance, law of, 68, 227-229 
Initiation into religious life, 239-241 

Age of, varies in different castes, 247 
Inscriptions on Jain statues, 326 
Intellect, in Nyaya philosophy, 263 
Interest, six forms of, according to Gau- 
tama, 226-237 
Internecine wars of the Kurus, 83 

Wars of the Panchalas, 83 
Invocation of the bright gods, 5 
Iranians, separation of, from the Hindus, 

Irrigation in the Panjab, 15 

Reference to, in the tenth book of the 
Rig-Veda, 17 

In ancient India, 217 
Isari, Hindu tribe, 205 
Isa Upanishad, extract from, 176 

Jabala, mother of Satyakama, 139-140 
Jaimini, founder of the Purva Mimamsa 
philosophy, 269 

Outline of sutras of, 269 
Jainism, a religion of India, 323 

Coaeval with Buddhism, 325 

Approximation to Buddhism, 326 
Jains, division of, into two sects, 324 

Refrain from killing animals, 327 

Monastic order of, 327 

Beliefs of, 333 

Sacred books of, 333 
Janaka, king of the Videhas, 114 

In the Ramayana, 117 

Quotation from Brihadaranyaka Upani- 
shad relating to, 152 
Janamejaya, son of Parikshit, 132 
Japan, Buddhism in, in the sixth century 

A. D., 280 

Java, Buddhist missionaries visit, 321 
Jnatrika Kshatriyas, Hindu clan, 323 
Judicial procedure still crude in Brah- 
manic and Epic periods, 166 
Jumna, a river, 96, 126 

Exploration of shores of, 97 
Justice officially administered in the 
Brahmanic period, 143 



Kaikeyi, queen of Dasaratba, 119 

Kali, goddess, 76 

Kalidasa, poetry of, 8 

Kalingoi, army of, 206 

Kalpa sutra, 191 

Kampilya, capital of the Panchalas, 104 

Social life in, in the Brahmanic period, 


Kanada, founder of the Vaisesika phi- 
losophy, 264 

Eanchi, capital of the Cholas, 186 
Kanishka, early Buddhist monarch, 321 

Extent of territory of, 321 

Council of, 322 

Kapila, founder of the Sankhya philos- 
ophy, 8, 263 
Kapilavastu, capital of the Sakyas, 285 

Buddha's return to, 292, 296, 297 
Kama knighted to fight with Arjuna, 103 

Fights with Arjuna, 110 

Killed by Arjuna, 110 
Kashmir, 321 
Kasis, a nation of ancient India, 82, 112, 

143, 284 

Kasyapa, conversion to Buddhism of three 
brothers named, 291 

A Brahman, 316 

Katha Upanishad, extract from, concern- 
ing Nachiketas, 181-183 
Kausalya, queen of Dasaratha, 119 
Kavasha, father of Tura, 132 

Legend of, 139 

Kena Upanishad, extract from, 175-176 
Kimbila, a convert to Buddhism, 293 
Kingdoms, Hindu, account of, in the Ai- 

tareya Brahmana, 125-126 
Kings, customs relating to coronation of, 
in the Rig- Veda, 41-42 

Performing religious rites, 77 

Invested by priests at the coronation 
ceremony, 132 

Palaces of, centre of life in the Brah- 
inanic and Epic times, 160 

Rules for, regarding subjects, 208-209 

Occupations of, 212-213 
Koliyans, Hindu clan, 285 
Kosalas, 119 

A nation of ancient India, 112 

Capital of, changed to Sravasti, 284 
Krishna, a leader of the aborigines, 34 

Chief of the Yadavas of Gujarat, 106 

Entirely human in the Upanishads, 170 

Dvaipayaua Vyasa, reputed author of 

the Mahabharata, 120 
Krita age, 135, 136 
Kshatriya caste, 136 
Kshatriyas, 3 

Religious speculations of, 85, 114 

Occupations of, 232, 233 
Kshema, queen of Bimbisara, admitted to 

the order of Buddhist nuns, 296 
Kumarila, argument of, 167-168 

Bhatta, Hindu philosopher, 269 
Kundagrama identified with Buddhist 

Kotigrama, 323 

Kuru country divided, 106-106 
Kurukshetra, battle of, 109 
Kurus, known also as Bharatas, a Hindu 

nation, 84, 100 
Entry into the Doab, 83 
Provenience of, a mooted question, 98 
And Panchalas centre of the Hindu 

world, 99 

Kusa, son of Sita and Rama, 123 
Kusinagara, place of Buddha's death, 301 
Kutsa, a warrior, 33 

Lakshmana, son of Sumitra, 119 
Accompanies his half-brother Rama 

into exile, 120 
Lakshmi, 76 
Lalita Vistara, poem of the Northern 

Buddhists, 280 

Lanka besieged by a non-Aryan army, 122 
Lava, son of Sita and Rama, 123 
Law as laid down in the Brihadaranyaka 

Upanishad, 155 
Of property, 225 
Of inheritance, 227-229 
Varied in severity according to castes, 

220, 221 
Agrarian, passage from Apastamba on, 

Agrarian, passage from Gautama on, 


Usury, of ancient India, 226 
Learning, branches of, in the Brahmanic 

and Epic periods, 167-168 
Legends, development of Puranic, from 

poets of the Rig- Veda, 25 
Lichchhavis, nation of ancient India, 284 
Literature, ancient Hindu, 2 

Brahmana, 88 

Lord of the Field, hymn to, 13-14 
Lunar asterisms, enumerated, 167 


Madhava, legend of king, 113 
Magadha, Hinduized, 184 

Kingdom of, 284 

Jain council of, 226 
Magadhas, explained as a caste, 231 
Mahabharata, Sanskrit epic, 83 

Description of Kuru-Panchala war in, 98 

Lessons of the, 111 



A work of later ages, 136 
Maha Rahula Sutta, preached, 827 
Mahavira, son of Siddhartha of Kunda- 

grama, 323 

Founder of Jainism, 323, 324 
Entered the Holy Order at the age of 

twenty-eight, 324 
Death of, 324 

Mahinda, son of Asoka, 320 
Maitreyi, discussion of, with Yajnavalkya, 


Malwa, Hindu kingdom, 126 
Man, as protector and head of the family, 7 
Manu, legend of, in Satapatha Brahmana, 


Manufactures, commencement of, 7 
Allusions to, in Rig- Veda, 26-27 
In Brahmanic and Epic periods, 150 
Of ancient India known to the Greeks, 


Mara, an evil spirit, 289 
Maritime travel not forbidden in ancient 

India, 50 
Marriage, not compulsory in Vedic India, 


Vedic ceremony of, 55-57 
Of students, 145 

Among blood relations prohibited, 164 
Eight varieties of, 238-239 
Among kinsfolk prohibited by Vasish- 

tha and Apastamba, 239 
Among kinsfolk permitted by Baudha- 

yana, 239 
Of widows, 239 
Ritual of, 244-246 
Maruts, storm gods, legend of, 72 
Mathura (Madura), capital of the Pan- 

dyas, 207 

Matriarchy, no trace of, in India, 7 
Matter, in Hindu philosophy, 267 
Meat, eating of, 8, 60 
Megasthenes' account of India, 204, 205- 

207, 210-212, 214, 219, 234, 235 
Takes up residence in India, 204 
Subdivides the philosophers into Brah- 

inans and Sramans, 236 
Metals, in ancient India, 9, 218 
In the Rig-Veda, 26 
Knowledge of, in Brahmanic times, 147 
Metre, science of, 192 
Mihintale, seat of an Indian monastery, 

Mind, according to Sankhya philosophy, 


Mithila, social life in, in Brahmanic pe- 
riod, 149 

Mitra, an Aditya, 69 
Modo-Galingoi (Madhya-Kalingas), Hindu 

tribe, 205 
Moggali, father of Tissa, 319 

Moggallana, convert to Buddhism, 292 
Monastery, Indian, at Mihintale, 320 
Money, in the Rig-Veda, 19-20 
Monotheism, 172-173 

In the Rig- Veda, 80-81 
Moon, regulation of sacrificial rites by 

position of, 157 
Morning hymn to the sun, 70 
Municipal government in the Brahmauic 

and Epic periods, 141 

Nachiketas, story of, 181-183 

Nagasena, a renowned Buddhist teacher, 

Nakula, one of the Pandava princes, 102 

Narada, 132 

Nature, according to Sankhya philosophy, 

Nearchos, a Greek historian, 216 

Nirvana, parallel to, in Sankhya philoso- 
phy, 267 

Meaning of, 307-308 
Gained by breaking the ten fetters, 308 

Nomadic life among the Aryans, 8 

Non-existence, category of, in Vaisesika 
philosophy, 266 

Northern Buddhism, the form prevailing 
in Nepal and Tibet, China, and Japan, 
280, 319 


Occult power, gained by Yoga, 260 
Ocean, churning of, 25 
Order of Buddhist nuns founded, 296 
Orissa, Hinduized, 203 

Paisacha marriage, 239 
Palace, description of, in the sutras, 208 
Pauchala kingdom, the, in 1400 B. c., 99 
Panchalas, a nation of ancient India, 82 

Provenience of, a mooted question, 98 

Entry into the Doab, 83 

Settlement of, near the modern Kanouj, 

And Kurus, centre of the Hindu world, 

Pandava princes, five, 104-105 

Princes, exhibition of skill in the use of 
arms, 104 

Princes, the five, wed Draupadi, 109 

Princes, slaves of Duryodhana, 107 
Pandavas, refuse to fight with Kama, 103 

First exile of, 103 

House of the, burnt, 104 

Disguised as Brahinans, 104 



Alliance of, with Drupada, 106 

Military campaigns of, 106 

Believed to have invaded Bengal and 
Ceylon, 110 

Second exile of, 107 

In thirteenth year of exile take service 
under the king of Virata, 108 

Send an envoy to Hastinapura to claim 
back their kingdom, 109 

Go to Hastinapura, 110 
Pandoi (Pandyas), Hindu nation, 206 
Pandu, grandson of Santanu, 100 
Pandya, a Hindu kingdom, 203 
Pandyas, kingdom of, 185 

History of, 206-207 

Panini, Sanskrit grammarian, 193 
Panjab, Aryan settlements in, 4 

Irrigation by means of wells in, 15 

Seven rivers of the, 49 

Colonized by Aryans, 97 
Pantheon, Hindu, adopted and modified 

by Buddha, 308-309 
Parasurama, legend of, 117 
Parikshit, father of Janamejaya, 132 
Parishads, schools, 144 
Parthalis, capital of the Kalingoi, 205 
Particularity, category of, in Vaisesika 

philosophy, 266 
Parvana, a rite performed on new and full 

moon days, 248 
Parvata, 132 

Pasturage in Early India, 17 
Pataliputra (Patna), metropolis of India 
for nearly a thousand years, 299 

Capital of the Prachyas, 204 

Council at, 819 
Patanjali, founder of Yoga philosophy, 


Paulkasas, explained as a caste, 231 
Philosophic period, summary of, 273 
Philosophy, its debt to the Kshatriya 
caste, 85 

Six schools of Hindu, 194-195 

Miinamsa, 268 

Purva Mimamsa, 268-270 

Uttara Mimamsa, 268-269 

Nyaya, 262-264 

Sankhya, 254-267, 268, 271 

Vaisesika 264-266, 271 

Vedanta, 195, 268-273 

Yoga, 268-261, 271 
Phonetics, science of, 192 
Pindapitri-yajna, sacrifice to departed 
ancestors, 162 

Ceremony of, 166-166 
Pitakas, sacred books of the Buddhists, 

Date of, 281 

Said to have been reduced to writing 
about 88 B. c., 321 

Plants of ancient India, 217 
Political life, decadence of, in India, 3 
Polygamy, 164 

Allowed among kings and rich people 

in Vedic times, 67 

Polyandry unknown in ancient India, 164 
Prachyas, the most powerful nation in 
the fourth century B. c., 204 

Boundary of, 205-206 
Prajapati, his part in creation, 167-168 
Prajapatya marriage, 239 
Pratisakhyas, 192 
Pregnancy, rites of, 246 
Priestly caste, rise of the, 83-84 
Priests, professional, 6, 77 

Studied nature, 78 

Divisions of, 86-87 

Sacrificial duties, 86 

And kings become separate castes in 
the Epic Age, 136 

And soldiers mingle and intermarry 

with the people, 150 
Prisni, the storm cloud, 72 
Problems, in Nyaya philosophy, 263 
Proof, in Nyaya philosophy, 262-263 
Puranic legends, development of, from the 

myths of the Big- Veda, 26 
Purusha, 176 
Pushan, an Aditya, 69 

Hymn to, 17-18 

Sun-god of the shepherds, 70 
Pushpamitra, king of Kashmir, 321 

Qualities, seventeen, in Vaisesika philos- 
ophy, 266 

Eahula, a convert to Buddhism, 293 

Son of Buddha, admitted to the order, 


Rajagriha, Council of, 318 
Eajasuya, imperial coronation sacrifice, 

Rajputana, a desert, 126 

Described by Megasthenes, 206 
Rama, son of Kausalya, 119 

An incarnation of Vishnu, 116 

A recrudescence of Indra, 116 

Wins Sita at a svayamvara, 119 

Husband of Sita, 116 

Goes into exile, 120 

Preparations of, for the recovery of 
Sita, 121 

Alliance of, with non-Aryan tribes, 121 

Kills Vali, 121 

Exiles Sita, 123 

Kills Ravana, 123 



Return to Ayodhya and ascends the 
throne, 123 

Celebrates the Asvamedha sacrifice, 124 

Sons of, capture the sacrificial horse, 

Ideal Hindu man, 126 
Ramayana, the second great epic of India, 
83, 116 

Value of, 116 

Decline in warlike spirit in, 117 

Characters of heroes of, 118 

A means of moral education to the 
Hindus, 126 

A work of later ages, 136 
Ravana, the demon-king of Lanka, 120 

Steals Sita, 121 

Killed by Rama, 123 

Religion, Hindu, explanation of, by the 
Rig- Veda, 11 

Of the Rig- Veda, 62-81 

Kshatriyas speculate on, 85 

Vedic, decline of, 86 

Later, essence of the, 86 
Religious discussions in Brahmanic and 
Epic times, 144 

Life, initiation into, 229-241 
Revealed literature, 86 
Right of way, passage from Vasishtha, 

on, 224-225 
Rig- Veda, earliest date of, 1 

Composition of, 10 

Composers of, 11 

Divisions of, 11 

Tenth book of, 12 

Wells in, 16 

Commerce in, 18 

Voyages in, 20 

Money in, 20 

Grains named in, 21 

Metals in, 26 

Allusions to aborigines in, 81 

Weapons in, 39, 41, 42 

Coronation customs in, 41-42 

Religion of, 62, 81 

Preservation of, by youths of priestly 
houses, 78 

Monotheism in, 80-81 

Brahmanas of, 92-93 

Aranyakas of, 94 

Astronomy in, 166-167 

Translations from, 13-14, 15, 17-18, 19, 
20, 26, 29, 31, 32-35, 38-42, 44^46, 
62-63, 56-67, 58, 59-60, 61, 63, 64, 
66, 66-68, 70, 73-74, 75-76, 78-81 
Rishis, Vedic bards, 76 

Not a separate class, 60-51 

As warriors, 77 

Rivers, hymns to, in the Rig-Veda, 44-46 
Robbers, allusion to aboriginal, in the 
Rig-Veda, 31 

Royal caste, rise of, 135 

Courts, the seats of learning, 143 
Rudra, father of the Maruts, one of the 

Hindu Triad, 11, 72 
Development of, as a deity, 169 
Not yet identified with Siva in the 

Brahmanas, 169 

Rules, prohibitory, of Buddhism, 312- 

Sacred books of the Jains, 327 
Sacred fire in the household, 62, 160 
Sacraments inferior to virtue, 244 
Sacrifice, increasing importance of, 86 
Importance of, in Brahmanic and Epic 

periods, 169 
Human, no reference to, in Rig-Veda, 

Human, in ancillary Vedic literature, 


Performed by professional priests, 6 
Sacrifices, accompanied by gifts in Brah- 
manic and Epic periods, 159 
Seven Paka, 191 
Sacrificial fire, 6 
Rites regulated by the position of the 

moon, 157 

Fire, setting up of the, 163 
Sadanira, a river, 113 
Sahadeva, one of the five Pandava princes, 

Sakai, a tribe of the fourth century B.C., 

Sakyaputriya Sramans, a sect founded by 

Gautama, 236-279 
Sakyas, a clan, 285 
Sale-transaction, a verse on, 19 
Salvation, doctrine of, from the Brihad- 

aranyaka Upanishad, 181 
Sanaa- Veda, compilation of, 86-86 
Duplicate verses found in the Rig- Veda, 

Selections from Rig- Veda set to music, 


Brahmanas of, 93 
Sankaracharya, a Hindu philosopher, 

167, 269 
Santanu, king of Hastinapura, 109 

Father of Bhishma, 100 
Saranyu, the dawn, 73 
Sarasvati, sacred river of the Panjab, 49, 


Goddess of speech, 75-76 
Sariputra, a convert to Buddhism, 292 
Satapatha Brahmana, various strata in, 93 
Satrughna, son of Sumitra, 119 
Satyakama, story of, 139-140 
Saurashtras, Hinduized, 185 



Sautramani, sacrifice in expiation of an 

overindulgence in Soma, 163 
Savitri, a sun-god, 69-71 
Schopenhauer, on Upanishads, 183 
Self-defence, right of, 222 
Settlements, Aryan, in the Panjab, 4 
Settlers, Aryan, earliest home of, 50 
Seven jewels of the Buddhist law, 306-307 

Rivers of the Panjab, 49 
Siam, Buddhism in, about 638 A. D., 321 
Siddhartha, see Buddha 
Sisupala of Chedi, killed by Krishna, 107 
Sita, described as the daughter of Janaka, 


Originally a goddess of the furrow, 116 
Won by Rama at a svayainvara, 119 
Accompanies Rama into exile, 120 
Stolen by Havana, 121 
Proof of purity required of, 123 
Exiled by Rama, 123 
Mythical character of, 126 
Ideal Hindu woman, 125 
Death of, 125 
Skepticism, Hindu, 171 
Sky, the most prominent object of wor- 
ship in early India, 62 
Social customs, had force of laws in an- 
cient India, 99 

Soldiers and priests mingle and inter- 
marry with the people, 150 
Soma, plant, 24 
Juice, 24, 76 
As a deity, 24 

Celebrated in an entire book of the Rig- 
Veda, 24 

Mixed with milk, 25 
Iranian name of, 24 
Hymn to, 26 
Indra's fondness for, 69 
Hymn to, containing an allusion to the 

future life, 73-74 
Soul, according to Sankhya philosophy, 


In Nyaya philosophy, 263 
Nature of, according to Vedanta philos- 
ophy, 271 

Souls, transmigration of, 308 
South Behar, 126 
Southern Buddhism, the form prevailing 

in Ceylon and Burma, 280, 319 
Southern India from the writings of 

Baudhayana, 202 

Sraddha rite, a monthly offering to de- 
parted ancestors, 248 
Sramans, Hindu hermits, 279 
Translation from Megasthenes concern- 
ing, 235 

Srautra Sutras, extant, 188 
Sravani, a rite performed in the month of 
Sravana, 249 

Sravasti, new capital of the Kosalas, 284 
Stone, uses of, for architectural pur- 
poses, 28 

Student life, termination of, 241, 247 
Students, 186 

In Brahmanic period, 144 

Marriage of, 146 

Duties as householders, 145, 247 
Subhadhra, wife of Buddha, 285, 302 
Substances, nine, in Vaisesika philoso- 
phy, 265 

Subtle body, according to Sankhya phi- 
losophy, 266-267 
Sudas, Vedic king, 37, 132 

Hymns to, 38-39 
Suddhodana, chief of the Sakyas and the 

father of Buddha, 286 
Sudra caste, 136 

Rise of the, 84 

Formed of aborigines, 138 

Religious knowledge forbidden to, 234 

Oppression of, 276 
Sugriva, brother of Vali, 121 

Wins Vali's kingdom and widow, 121 

Marches his army to Lanka, 121 
Suicides, 222 

Sumitra, queen of Dasaratha, 119 
Sunidha, chief minister of Ajatasatru, 


Sunita, story of, 309-310 
Supreme being, not recognized by San- 
khya philosophy, 256 

Being, in Yoga philosophy, 266 

Being, in Nyaya philosophy, 263 

Being, according to Vedanta philoso- 
phy, 271, 272-273 

Deity, Vishnu developed into, 70-71 
Surya, a sun-god, 69 
Sutras, character of, 185 

Human compositions, 186 

Schools of, 186 

Classes of, 186 

Sutta Pitaka, record of sayings and do- 
ings of Gautama Buddha, 282 
Sutlaj, river of the Panjab, 4, 97 

Reached by the Hindus, 82 
Suttee, supposed Vedic basis for, 61 
Svayamvara, of Draupadi, 104 
Svetaketu, story of, 174 
Svetambaras, a sect of Jains, 323-324 

Existence of, in first century A. D., 325 
Syllogism, in Hindu philosophy, 264, 270 

Taprobane, Greek name of Ceylon, 207 
Taxes, 209-210 

Some exempt from paying, 209 
Teachers, individual, in Brahmanic period 



Teaching of the Golden Mean, 290 
Temples, unknown in the Vedic period, 6 
Not mentioned in the Rig- Veda, 62, 76 
Ten fetters, Buddhist, breaking of the, 


Kings, battle of the, 37, 38 
Theft, punishment of, 221 
Tibet, Buddhism in, in the seventh cen- 
tury A. D., 280 
Tissa, son of Moggali, 319 
Tonsure, ceremony of, 247 
Towns, stone-built, 27 
Plan of, in Brahmanic and Epic peri- 
ods, 150 

Transmigration of souls, 308 
Doctrine of, 179 
Extract concerning, in the Brihadaran- 

yaka Upanishad, 179-180 
According to Sankhya philosophy, 256- 


In Nyaya philosophy, 263-264 
According to Vedanta philosophy, 271 
Travel, maritime, not forbidden in an- 
cient India, 50 
Treta age, 136 
Triad of the Buddhists, 299 
Tribes, chiefs of, as kings, 5 
Five, of the Panjab, 50 
Indian, number of, one hundred and 

eighteen, 216 

Trisaa, mother of Mahavira, 323 
Tura, son of Kavasha, 132 
Twice-born men, caste of, 136-137 


Udgatris, Vedic priests, duties of, 87 
Ugrasena, father of Yudhamsraushti, 

Uma Haimavati, a female theologian, 

Universal soul, doctrine of, in the Upan- 

ishads, 172-176 

Upali, convert to Buddhism, 293-295 
Upanishads, 172 
Compilation of, 85 
Number and enumeration of principal, 

Contain religious speculations of the 

warrior caste, 114 
Doctrines of, 172 
Pantheism in, 173 
Passage of Schopenhauer on, 183 
Continued by Vedanta philosophy, 271 
Basic concept of, 276 
Uruvela, place of Buddha's residence for 

six years, 289 
Ushas, goddess of dawn, 75 

Hymn to, in the Rig- Veda, 76-76 
Uttara Kurus, 98 

Vaidehas, Hindu nation, explained as a 

caste, 231 
Vaisali, capital of Lichchhavis, 284 

Buddhist council at, 318-319 
Vaisya caste, 136 
Rise of the, 84 

Undivided in Philosophic period, 232 
Occupations of the, 232-233 
Vali, king among the non-Aryans, 121 
Brother of Sugriva, 121 
Killed by Rama, 121 

Valabhi, council of, records the scriptures 
of the Svetambaras in writing about 
467-67 A. D., 325 
Valmiki, the reputed author of the Rama- 

yana, 120 

Instructor of Rama's sons, 124 
Varanavata, place of exile of the Pandava 

princes, 103 

Varuna, Hindu deity, 20 
The sky-god, 63 
Three hymns to, 63-65 
An Aditya, 69 

Vasishtha, Hindu legislator, 132, 222 
Dharmasastra of, translation from, 

Vassakara, chief minister of Ajatasatru, 


Vayu, god of air, 72 
Puraua, describes the beginnings of the 

caste system, 135 
Vedangas, 192-193 
Vedanta philosophy, 270-273 
Vedas, compilation of, 86-86 

Indexes of, 193-194 
Vedic hymns, study of, 1-2 
Period, 4 

Religion, decline of, 86, 274 
Age, Hindu Aryans a united body in, 


Religion, reaction against, 274-276 
Vegetable food, 21 
Vibhishana, brother of Ravana, 122 
Videhas, rise of kingdom of, 82, 112-114 
Most prominent kingdom of Northern 

India, 114 
Court of the, 143 
Vijaya, conquers Ceylon, 207 
Vinaya Pitaka, record of minute rules 

for Buddhist monks and nuns, 282 
Virata, king of, taught by the Pandava 

princes, 108 

Vishnu, Hindu deity, 11 
An Aditya, 69 

Developed into a supreme deity, 70-71 
Legends of, 170 
Visvamitra, hymn of, 3 
First a warrior, then a priest, 37 



Hymn of, to the rivers, 49 
Visvavara, woman of the Vedic period, 54 
Vivasvat, the rising sun, 73 
Voyages, no prohibition against, in the 

Rig- Veda, 20 
Vratyas, 171 

Vrijjians, a Turanian tribe, 298 
Vritra slain by Indra, 66 


War, 8 

With the aborigines, 30 
Kuru-Panchala, 83, 100 
Not stopped by advance of civilization, 

Equipment, account of, by Arrian, 


Laws of, among Hindus, 214-215 
Warrior caste, rise of the, 84 
Warriors, Vedic, 42-43 
Water, manner of obtaining, for cultiva- 
tion, 16 

Wealth, in Brahmanic period, 146-150 
Weapons, 8 

Allusions to, in the Rig- Veda, 39, 41, 42 
Weaving, 25 
Widow-marriage, 61 
Not prohibited in Brahmanic and Epic 

periods, 154 

Wives and husbands in Vedic sacrifices, 52 
Women take part in Vedic sacrifices, 50, 


Freedom of, in Vedic India, 53-55 
Influence of, in ancient India, 100 
Absolute seclusion of, unknown in an- 
cient India, 150, 151 
Privileges accorded to, 151 
Hold honoured place in ancient India, 

151, 153-154 
Worship, household, 50 

Writing known in India in the Philo- 
sophic period, 216 

Yadavas, a Hindu nation, 206-207 
Yajnavalkya, discussion of, with Mai- 

treyi, 161-152 

Yajur-Veda, compilation of, 85, 86, 89 
Brahmanas of, 93 
Aranyakas of, 94, 96 
Account of coronation ceremony in, 

Verse from, descriptive of kingly duty, 


Burial customs in, 166 
Yama, god of the heaven of the righteous, 


God of the dead, 73 
In the Puranas, 73 
Stanzas concerning older conception 

of, 73 
Yaska, plan of, to reduce Vedic gods to 

three, 71 

Yasodhara, wife of Buddha, 292 
Yavanas (Greeks) explained as a caste, 230 
Yoga, meaning of the word, 258 
Obstacles to, 268-259 
Rules to attain to, 259-260 
Yudhamsraushti, son of Ugrasena, 132 
Yudhisthira, one of the five Pandava 

prmces, 101 

Appointed crown prince, 103 
Coronation ceremony of, 106 
Gambling match of, 106 
Becomes king, 110 
Celebrates the Asvamedha ceremony, 

Said to have subdued every monarch in 

Aryan India, 110 
Yueh-chi, conquer Kashmir, 321 

ii V' L